“At the center of the effort has been a pair of
low-key moderates: Gov. John R. Kasich, Republican of Ohio, and Gov. John W. Hickenlooper, Democrat of Colorado, who on Tuesday morning
called on the Senate to reject the Republican bill and to negotiate a bipartisan alternative.
Just before Senate Republicans
delayed a vote on the bill, Mr. Kasich denounced his own party’s legislation in biting terms, saying it would victimize the poor and mentally
ill, and redirect tax money “to people who are already very wealthy.”
“This bill,” Mr. Kasich
said, “is unacceptable.”
The mounting criticism from governors, including sharp denunciations from within
President Trump’s party, helped stymie Republican efforts to marshal support in the Senate, and may have led, in a roundabout way, to the
stalling of the measure this week…”
“But if the legislation does unravel further, governors will
have played a hand: Mr. Hickenlooper said in an interview that he and Mr. Kasich had agreed to team up after a February meeting of the
governors’ association in Washington, where state leaders heard an alarming presentation about the potential consequences of a federal pullback
in health care.
Within weeks, Mr. Hickenlooper said, both Mr. Kasich and Mr. Sandoval had sought his help in taking on
their own party. Mr. Kasich, the Colorado governor recalled, expressed confidence that he could find other Republicans who would “take a pretty
strong stand that coverage shouldn’t be rolled back.”
A tentative game plan emerged: They would assemble a
nimble, informal group of governors, from the right and left of center, who would publicly express concern about health care legislation drafted in
the House and Senate. The governors would press for a slower, less disruptive and more public legislative process, and insist on protections for
states that had greatly expanded their Medicaid rolls.
Joining Mr. Kasich and Mr. Sandoval on the Republican side was Mr.
Baker. On the Democratic side, Mr. Hickenlooper recruited Steve Bullock of Montana, John Bel Edwards of Louisiana and Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania.”
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