JEFFERSON CITY, MO. (KMOX) – Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is backing a contested health care overhaul proposed in the U.S. House.
Greitens joined seven other Republican governors in a Thursday letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan voicing support of the bill.
The letter comes as President Donald Trump and GOP lawmakers are scrambling to get enough votes in the U.S. House to pass the proposed replacement for the federal health care law enacted under former President Barack Obama.
Greitens last week said he wants a program that offers flexibility to states to develop their own systems. That option was among changes unveiled this week and touted in the governors’ letter.
Other Republican governors who signed the letter include Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb.
St. Louis Democratic congressman Lacy Clay tells KMOX news he thinks Republicans who vote for President Trump’s healthcare plan run the risk of losing their seat.
“I think that it will have a negative impact on those sitting members of congress who go back home and say ‘we gave you a better deal’ when they really did not. Under this bill, 24 million Americans will lose their health coverage,” he says.
He agrees that changes need to be made in the Affordable Care Act, but certainly not what the conservative Freedom Caucus wants.
“What we need to attack is how we control rising healthcare costs. I think that’s where the focus needs to be, which may require some type of more robust universal coverage,” he says.
Collinsville Republican John Shimkus doesn’t believe that will happen. He says for the Freedom Caucus and their constituents the healthcare bill doesn’t go far enough.
“I’ve been fighting to make sure we don’t end the medicaid expansion 2018, I mean 2020 is too long for them, these are battles that I’m having here in Washington right now,” he says.
Shimkus says while he was satisfied with the GOP bill to repeal Obamacare, others on his side of the aisle were not.
“My base has been clamoring for repeal and replace for seven years, and now we get a chance to do it, and if it’s not good enough for some of my colleagues on my side and we know the democrats don’t want to do it, so we’re kind of in a pause right now,” he says.