Vice President Pence calls Alaska radio stations advocating health care bill

Published: Sep. 22, 2017 at 3:43 PM AKDT
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Vice President Mike Pence called into two conservative radio talk shows Thursday urging listeners to call both of Alaska’s U.S. Senators and ask them to support the Graham-Cassidy health care bill currently in the Senate.

The legislation is the latest effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act after a failed attempt by the GOP in late July. Sen. Lisa Murkowski was one of three votes from Senate Republicans to vote ‘no’ on the ‘skinny’ repeal bill.

Murkowski could again be in the center of the debate as she remains undecided on how she’ll vote on the bill. Sen. Dan Sullivan has also not decided how he’ll vote next week.

Meanwhile, Pence called into “The Mike Porcaro Show” on KENI and “The Dave Stieren Show” on KFQD Thursday praising the Graham-Cassidy bill.

“We’ve been in regular communication with Sen. Sullivan and Sen. Murkowski and talking with them about this legislation,” said Pence to KFQD host Dave Stieren. “This is a tremendous opportunity to lift the failure of Obamacare off the American people.”

Pence also said the new bill would let lawmakers in Juneau make the important decisions regarding health care for Alaskans.

“If people believe leaders in Juneau know better for Alaska than Washington D.C. ever will, if people want to get rid of the mandate that requires them to buy health insurance or pay a penalty, I just encourage them to call both of your senators,” Pence said.

Meanwhile, Alaska Governor Bill Walker has come out against the Graham-Cassidy bill saying there’s still a lot of unknowns, especially when it comes to how Alaskans would be affected.

“I can’t sign onto something that has as much uncertainty as it has right now,” Walker said.

Walker says there’s conflicting data and believes a hurried partisan process to get the bill passed through the senate is the wrong way to address health care.

Walker was one of 10 governors to sign a letter opposing the bill, instead supporting a bipartisan effort aimed at stabilizing the Affordable Care Act rather than repealing it.

“I’m in a unique situation being the only non-partisan governor in the 50 states and I’m a big fan of bipartisan efforts,” Walker said. “We’ve seen that in the legislature very successfully and I believe that’s a process that brings out the best options and solutions on the table.

As of yet, the Congressional Budget Office has not released its report on the impact of the Health Care legislation.

What we know so far is that the bill proposes cuts to Medicaid funding, it would eliminate the individual mandate to buy insurance and states could opt out of covering pre-existing conditions although they’d have to explain how they intend to keep those people covered.

A vote is expected next week, however the bill could already be dead without Murkowski or Sullivan’s vote.

On Friday, Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain said he would not support the legislation and Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul has already voiced opposition to the bill.

Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins told local press Friday that she’s leaning towards a ‘no’ vote on the Graham-Cassidy bill.

No Democrats are expected to vote in favor of the bill. If three or more GOP Senators vote against the bill, it would essentially die.