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Capito announces she will not support current GOP health care bill

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito announces she can't support the current GOP health care bill. (WCHS/WVAH)

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, who has been under intense lobbying from people opposed to the GOP health care bill before the Senate, announced Tuesday she cannot support the bill.

The Republican who represents West Virginia announced her decision in a joint statement with U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who said he also can’t back the health care plan.

Senate GOP leaders earlier in the day, lacking the necessary votes to pass the measure, announced they are delaying the vote until after the July Fourth recess.

“I came to Washington to make the lives of West Virginians better,” Capito said in the news release. “Throughout this debate, I have said that I will only support a bill that provides access to affordable health care coverage for West Virginians, including those on Medicaid and those struggling with drug addiction. In West Virginia, Obamacare has led to skyrocketing premiums, co-pays, and deductibles for families and small businesses. Patients have fewer choices in doctors and hospitals as networks shrink and plans become more restrictive.

“I have consistently looked for opportunities to improve this broken law, including co-sponsoring the Patient Freedom Act of 2017 earlier this year. I continue to believe we must repair what can be fixed, scrap what is not working, and create a better health care reality for West Virginians. At the same time, West Virginia has the largest Medicaid population in the country. I recognize that many West Virginians rely on health coverage and access to substance abuse treatment because of my state’s decision to expand coverage through Medicaid. I have studied the draft legislation and CBO analysis to understand its impact on West Virginians. As drafted, this bill will not ensure access to affordable health care in West Virginia, does not do enough to combat the opioid epidemic that is devastating my state, cuts traditional Medicaid too deeply, and harms rural health care providers.”

“As drafted, the Senate health care bill is not the right fix for West Virginia, and I cannot support it. My concerns will need to be addressed going forward.”

Meanwhile, Portman said he also could not support the bill.

“As I’ve said many times, the Affordable Care Act is not working for many Ohio families and small businesses,” Portman said. “I am committed to creating a better health care system that lowers the cost of coverage, provides access to quality care, and protects the most vulnerable in our society. The Senate draft before us includes some promising changes to reduce premiums in the individual insurance market, but I continue to have real concerns about the Medicaid policies in this bill, especially those that impact drug treatment at a time when Ohio is facing an opioid epidemic.

“For months, I have engaged with my colleagues on solutions that I believe are necessary to ensure that we improve our health care system and better combat this opioid epidemic. Unfortunately, the Senate draft falls short and therefore I cannot support it in its current form. In the days and weeks ahead, I’m committed to continue talking with my colleagues about how we can fix the serious problems in our health care system while protecting Ohio’s most vulnerable citizens.”

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