Arizona political leaders split over Graham-Cassidy health care bill

Sen. Jeff Flake announced he will support the Graham-Cassidy health care bill.

Two of Arizona's top Republican leaders in Washington are apparently on opposite sides when it comes to the newly proposed health care bill referred to as the Graham-Cassidy bill.

The health care bill, named after its sponsors Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, would essentially turn over control of the health care market to states. Here's what that would mean for you.

It's the the latest GOP attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare.

On Monday, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey called it the "best path forward to repeal and replace Obamacare." 

"I will continue to work with the Congress and the Administration to give states more flexibility and more options moving forward," Ducey said in a statement. "Congress has 12 days to say 'yes' to Graham-Cassidy. It's time for them to get the job done."

Sen. Jeff Flake said he won't give up on the repeal and replace of Obamacare tweeting a clip of his Wednesday night appearance on the The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Introduced as the "Republican senator from Arizona who is not John McCain, Flake talked about his Arizona roots, new book and why he was voting for Graham-Cassidy.

Colbert posed the question: "Why not wait to know what you're voting on before you affect one-sixth of the American economy?"

Flake said he does want a bipartisan solution to health care moving forward, but in the meantime, sees Graham-Cassidy as a way to provide everybody, including thousands of Arizonans, access to affordable health insurance.

"This isn't a matter of blowing up the system, it's letting those at the local level run it better," he told Colbert.

Flake said he believes it will pass.

But then there's the opposition -- which picked up a huge "ally" on a Friday.

In a Tweet Wednesday, Congressman Ruben Gallego said that the Graham-Cassidy bill is not "just the latest GOP attempt to destroy our health care, it's also the worst."

Congressman Tom O'Halleran followed suit saying the bill "removes protections for Arizonans with pre-existing conditions." He called for his constituents to join him in "calling on the Senate to vote this bill down."

Sen. John McCain released a statement Friday saying he could not vote for the repeal -- the total opposite of what his Arizona counterpart in the Senate said just two days before.

“I take no pleasure in announcing my opposition. Far from it," McCain said. "The bill’s authors are my dear friends, and I think the world of them. I know they are acting consistently with their beliefs and sense of what is best for the country. So am I."

McCain said he believes Republicans and Democrats can do better together. 

"The issue is too important, and too many lives are at risk, for us to leave the American people guessing from one election to the next whether and how they will acquire health insurance," he said. "A bill of this impact requires a bipartisan approach."

READ: Sen. John McCain's full statement

I’m excited about solutions we have found in Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson. We press on.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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