Governors ask GOP for time to determine impact of health care plan on states

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker becomes emotional as he speaks after signing sweeping legislation aimed at reversing a deadly opioid addiction crisis, during a signing ceremony at the Statehouse, Monday, March 14, 2016, in Boston. Listening at right are House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, and members of the legislature, law enforcement, health care providers, community leaders and individuals in recovery. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

NASHVILLE - Two top members of the National Governors Association today issued a bipartisan plea to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., asking states be given enough time to review the GOP health plan and ensure it "does not adversely harm the people we were elected to serve."

In their letter to McConnell, both Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, current NGA chairman and a Democrat, and Massachusetts Gov. Charle Baker, a Republican, said that while the nation's governors "are ready to work with leaders in Washington to make health care more accessible and affordable to the people we serve," governors "must be given adequate time to determine the impact any health care bill will have on their states and residents."

Baker is vice chairman of the NGA's Health and Human Services Committee.

McConnell hopes to rush his Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) through the Senate later this week. Republicans were hoping to have a Congressional Budget Office "score" as early as today on the federal cost savings and expected loss of health coverage for millions of Americans.

The legislation seeks to repeal large portions of the federal Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare, and would also have major impacts on Medicaid, a state and federally funded health care program for the poor, disabled and some low-income elderly citizens.

In their letter, McAuliffe and Baker said "it is critical that any changes to Medicaid and the private health insurance market reflect states' experience as major health care purchasers, regulators, and administrators who will be responsible for carrying out new reforms."

Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has yet to weigh in on the Senate bill.