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Arizona Gov. Ducey On Repeal And Replace: 'It’s Time For Obamacare To Go'

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey
(Photo via azgovernor.gov)
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey

Republicans have nine days to pass the latest draft for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is busy on Capitol Hill lining up the last GOP support needed and his sights are set on Arizona Sen. John McCain, who voted against the prior edition last month.

McCain said Wednesday he can get behind it, if Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and state leaders support it.

“It’s time for Obamacare to go,” said Ducey, standing by his party’s longtime platform."I don't think this should be a surprise to anyone. I've been running and talking and advocating on behalf of the repeal and replacement of Obamacare since the time I came into office."

But, Ducey admitted he still has not idea how much federal aid the Graham-Cassidy bill will cost the state and he can’t guarantee the 400,000 Arizonans who benefit from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) expansion will keep their coverage or whether he can protect premiums from rising further.

"I haven't seen the final bill,” said Ducey. "We're advocating for the longest possible transition so that we can move people from Medicaid into a superior insurance product. So there will be more to do. But that has always been the intention."

Ducey's strong and early support of the new federal legislation puts him at odds with some of his Republican colleagues.

In a letter sent this week to McConnell, fellow GOP governors, including John Kasich of Ohio, Charles Baker of Massachusetts, Phil Scott of Vermont and Brian Sandoval of Nevada, all urged the Senate majority leader scrap the plan and instead support "bipartisan efforts to make health care more available and affordable for all Americans.''

All are from states that several studies have shown will be, like Arizona, financial losers under the Graham-Cassidy plan. One study from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities puts the annual loss to Arizona at $1.6 billion by 2026.

When Capitol Media Services asked the Gov. Ducey what his numbers were in terms of loss of federal money, he said, "There is no federal money. All the money is our money that is sent to Washington, D.C., and then comes back to us in a lower figure."

During the two earlier drafts to repeal the ACA, Ducey himself, sent a letter to Senator McCain, asking him to stand against the provision penalizing states that expanded Medicaid before the Affordable Care Act passed.  Arizona voters had chosen to do that back in 2000.

To that, Ducey said, “I don't want a bill that will penalize Arizona. And I realize it will take this bill and more to do to get our health care system in the right shape.”

That’s assuming McConnell can manage to keep McCain’s faith for the necessary majority vote. 

Throughout this week, McCain has repeated that the proposal must run through “regular order,” including committees and Senate floor voting with amendments and bi-partisan input. 

That may not happen as McConnell considers pushing the latest proposal through a single hearing in the Homeland Security Committee to meet the Sept. 30 deadline. 

Holliday Moore is a native Arizonan and veteran journalist who joined KJZZ’s news team in January 2017.Moore graduated from Arizona State University after double majoring in mass communications and marketing/management. She spent her first two decades reporting for television news, beginning in small markets and working up to congressional correspondent in Washington, D.C., for a political news service.Family commitments in Arizona brought her back to the Southwest, where she covered legislative and court beats for Albuquerque’s KRQE-TV and the infamous Four Corner Manhunt as KREZ-TV’s managing editor.Back home in Phoenix, she developed ABC15’s “Democracy Project,” now instituted at all Scripps’ news stations nationwide. Her work garnered “Best Practices” recognition by the Poynter Institute and the prestigious Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism.Her television reports, from sports to cultural issues, earned her multiple Emmy and Associated Press nominations, including a Rocky Mountain Emmy for her Hopi Partition Land Act coverage.As she started a family, Moore started her own media production agency, producing magazine-style travel stories for the Emmy-winning Arizona Highways Television show while working part time for a Valley radio station. She is convinced radio is where visual, sound, and print are merging through deeper storytelling. In her relatively short time with radio network affiliates, she has won four Edward R. Murrow Awards and multiple nominations from other professional news societies.Moore now teaches advanced broadcast writing to the next generation of reporters at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where a high percentage have gone on to receive national awards for their work in her class. She enjoys being back home near childhood friends and sharing the beautiful Arizona desert with her husband and young son.