CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) – If a vote on the latest healthcare proposal takes place before the end of September, republicans will only need 51 votes to pass it. but under Senate rules it would need at least 60 votes to pass starting on Oct. 1. So now the race is on.
Once again republicans are trying to pass a healthcare bill to repeal and replace Obamacare and once again democratic senators including Rhode Island’s are speaking out against it.
“This is a disaster and they’re just pushing forward anyway. It’s an astonishing political peculiarity,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D- Rhode Island.
“The republican bill sponsored by Senators Graham and Cassidy would devastate Rhode Island,” said Sen. Jack Reed, D- Rhode Island.
According to a study done by the consulting firm Avalere Health, the proposal by republicans Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy would lower federal funding to Rhode Island by $20 billion over the next 15 year compared with current law.
“It would just be financially devastating to the state. It would cost jobs and it would just completely disrupt the healthcare system across the nation” said Sen. Reed.
United States Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse held an event on September 22, 2017 with other healthcare leaders advocating against the repeal effort. Over the spring and summer they organized similar efforts to block previous repeal bills. They say they didn’t think they would be going around doing it again.
“To me it’s like that movie scene where the dead zombie hand comes thrusting out of the dirt and the grave one more time. I really can’t wait until this is done,” said Sen. Whitehouse.
We reached out to several Rhode Island republicans running for senate and governor to see where they stand on the bill. United States senate candidate and state representative Bobby Nardolillo was the first to respond.
“Single payer coverage isn’t the answer. But as it stands the current formula doesn’t represent the best needs of my state. I wouldn’t be in support of the Graham-Cassidy bill until the formula is adjusted,” he said in part of of statement sent to Eyewitness News.
Republican Senator John McCain who is a good friend of Sen. Graham has also come out against the proposal. “I cannot in good conscious vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal,” he said.