LAS VEGAS – The long health care debate is far from being over. In fact, it’s expected to ramp up again in Washington. Republicans are expected to push a new bill backed by Nevada Senator Dean Heller, senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.
Heller has taken heat from both sides of the aisle because both Republicans and Democrats viewed him as a swing vote.
Heller’s vote was not one of the three no votes that killed the Obamacare repeal efforts, but the country has been watching his every move, and he’ll be a key figure when Republicans try to repeal Obamacare again.
In the past, Heller has said that he would follow Governor Brian Sandoval’s, R-NV, lead, but during the final vote, Heller voted yes for the “Skinny Repeal” bill, which Sandoval did not support.
Politics NOW Host Patrick Walker: “Governor Sandoval had written that letter to Senator McConnell that he still didn’t support the Skinny Bill, where was the difference between you and the governor on the Skinny Bill moving forward?
Sen. Dean Heller, R-NV: “I don’t exactly know. Maybe it was just a philosophical difference, maybe he supports the mandates, and frankly I do not. Again, I don’t think someone should have to pay a fine because they can’t afford a product. Keep in mind that of the 80,000 Nevadans that had to pay that fine, probably 90 percent of them made $50,000 or less. $50,000 or less, they simply could not afford the product. So it could have been a difference in policy and understanding, or frankly, he may have thought that it needed to be a broader bill and that with a broader bill, he could have supported it.”
Heller signed on to an amendment with Senators Graham and Cassidy to support a bill that would eliminate the individual mandate to have health insurance and turn Medicaid payments to states into a Block Grant program. It appears to be the bill that senate leadership will try to advance as they take up the issue of health care again in the near future.