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Health care law debate continues to heat up in Southern New England

Gov. Gina Raimondo told NBC 10 Political Reporter Bill Rappleye that the Republican-backed healthcare law, which got no Democrat votes in Congress, will take some Rhode Islanders off insurance. (WJAR)

Congress barely passed a new health care law that will reduce government influence over insurance offerings.

It’s got Democrats almost universally up in arms, but Mike Stenhouse from the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity said they need to look at the changes with an open mind.

“You have a philosophical difference here. The Democrats and the liberals believe that government insurance and Medicaid are the be all and end all, that the more people we can get on provided and government-mandated insurance, the better,” Stenhouse told NBC 10 News. This bill says you’ll be better off if we can move people into lower cost, higher quality, private insurance.”

Gov. Gina Raimondo said the Republican-backed healthcare law, which got no Democrat votes in Congress, will take some Rhode Islanders off insurance.

“There’s just not a lot of money, it seems, for folks with pre-existing conditions, for folks on Medicaid expansion,” Raimondo said. “(It) looks like premiums are going to go up, looks like deductibles are going to go up, for what? For what? All in the name of tax cuts for wealthy people.”

Congressman Joe Kennedy, a Democrat from Massachusetts’ 4th district, is also opposed to the plan. He said Republicans may be technically correct that nobody is being thrown off Medicaid, but he says it not the whole story.

“They might say everybody will still get coverage,” Kennedy said. “What it actually does is it puts on a per capita cap on federal funding into Medicaid. And they cut it to the tune of about $880 billion over 10 years, and then pass that obligation over to states.”

The bill now goes to the Senate, where it will almost certainly be subject to changes.

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