Arizona leaders help shape new health care bill

Posted at 5:36 AM, Sep 19, 2017

The back and forth on the nation's health care may be over soon. 

A new proposal known as "Graham-Cassidy" is getting close to having enough Republican support to move forward.

Governor Doug Ducey was heavily involved with crafting this bill. Over the summer he met with Louisiana Republican Senator Bill Cassidy, whose name is on the bill. 

Ducey and other Republican governors helped with this new plan, but Ducey has been tight-lipped about what he fought for and how it would impact the state. 

The Congressional Budget Office needs several weeks to analyze it, but the clock is ticking because this bill could be passed with Republican support in the next 12 days. Essentially it would end the Medicaid expansion in Arizona. That gave insurance to about 400,000 low-income Arizonans. 

It would also replace Medicaid funding which covers almost two million Arizonans. Individuals would no longer be required to have insurance and employers wouldn't have to provide it either. 

The tax breaks given to low-income people would be eliminated. In its place would be funding for block grants. 

An early analysis shows it would cost Arizona at least $1.6 billion in 2026. But no numbers yet on how many may lose coverage in this plan.

Senator Jeff Flake says he is backing this plan. Senator John McCain has been quoted as saying he will “reluctantly” vote for it if it has Governor Ducey’s support. 

This bill already has 48 votes. It only needs two more to meet the minimum for a rule to kick in that allows Republicans to pass it with a simple majority.  

If that doesn't happen, Republicans will need to get the Democrats on board.