Sen. Maria Cantwell vows to use ‘every tool we have’ to stop GOP health-care plan

Doctors and patients joined U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell at Virginia Mason Medical Center Friday to blast the newly unveiled Senate Republican health-care bill’s proposed cuts to Medicaid coverage.

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell joined doctors and patients at Virginia Mason Medical Center Friday to blast the newly unveiled Senate Republican health-care bill’s steep cuts to Medicaid.

The Senate plan, like the bill passed earlier this year by the U.S. House, would roll back the expansion of Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for poor and disabled people, while cutting taxes for the wealthy.

“My colleagues in the U.S. Senate on the Republican side of the aisle have been trying to write a health-care bill in the dark,” Cantwell said, referring to the legislation crafted by a select group of GOP lawmakers and kept secret until this week. “We want people to stop and look at what the impacts would be.”

In Washington state, 600,000 people have received medical coverage under the Medicaid expansion, as part of the 2009 Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare. The Senate Republican plan would end federal money to fund that expansion by 2020, leaving states to pick up the cost or end coverage for millions.

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Cantwell said she and fellow Democrats will use “every tool we have” to halt the GOP plan, which could be voted on by next week.

Dr. Ben Danielson, senior medical director at Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic in Seattle, which serves mostly Medicaid patients, mocked the priorities of the Republican legislation.

“I have to start off by, I guess first congratulating all of the millionaires on the incredible gift that they are about to get. I always wondered what you get for the person who has everything, and now I know, it’s cutting benefits to young children, poor families, the infirm, the elderly,” Danielson said.

The pushback was part of a…

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