FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday said he’s “disappointed” the U.S. Senate won’t be voting on the latest health care bill to replace Obamacare.
This comes as Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and others said they couldn’t support the Graham-Cassidy bill that would replace Obamacare.
The legislation would have implemented a block grant program and given funding to the states. The states would then have had a wide margin to decide how that money will be spent.
It also would’ve eliminated the Obamacare individual mandate, the Medicaid expansion, tax credits, employer mandates and cost-sharing subsidies.
The governor called America’s current health care system “unsustainable.”
Hutchinson was part of a silent team that helped craft the legislation. It included other governors and senators.
The state Democratic Party said Arkansans can “breathe a sigh of relief” now that the bill won’t be voted on.
“The Senate Republicans did not succeed in their shameful attempts to rip health insurance away from Arkansans,” the party said in a statement. “We’ll obviously monitor further developments on health care, but for now, it seems as though ‘Arkansas Works’ is here to stay.”
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, who signed the Private Option (now Arkansas Works) into law, warned Graham-Cassidy would be the end of the state’s Medicaid expansion.
Before Tuesday’s announcement that the Senate wouldn’t vote on Graham-Cassidy, Hutchinson said if the bill failed to pass, Obamacare would be here “in perpetutity.”
“[Obamacare is] built into the fabric of our healthcare system, and I don’t see it changing, so this is our last chance,” Hutchinson had previously said.
In spite of the bill not passing, Hutchinson said the state remains in a “strong position.”
He said, “Despite the failure of Graham-Cassidy, and regardless of the constraints of the current system, I am committed to our ongoing reform efforts in Arkansas Works and traditional Medicaid, and will continue to focus on creating a more efficient, sustainable system of healthcare in The Natural State for future generations.”