The Latest: Analysts say Alaska gets help in health bill

Markets Associated Press

The Latest on the Republican effort to craft a health care law (all times local):

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6:20 p.m.

Analysts say that the health care bill that Republicans hope to push through the Senate next week contains language helping Alaska.

That's the home state of Sen. Lisa Murkowski, among a handful of GOP senators who've not said how they'll vote and whose backing party leaders desperately need. A showdown is coming next week.

The language would shield Alaska from cuts the legislation would make in Medicaid by limiting spending to a specified amount per beneficiary under the health care program for the poor.

That does not ensure Murkowski's vote.

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She says she's studying how the measure would affect Alaska. And studies released by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation and the consulting firm Avalere Health count Alaska among many states that would lose federal money under the GOP bill.

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4 p.m.

An inscrutable provision in the Republican health care bill would apparently steer extra cash to Wisconsin. That's the home state of GOP Sen. Ron Johnson, a co-sponsor of the bill.

One health care consultant says the language could mean hundreds of millions of dollars for Wisconsin, though others say it's hard to tell how much money is at stake. Several analysts said they weren't aware the provision would apply to any states but Wisconsin.

Johnson says in a statement "the innovative reforms of Wisconsin" should be reflected in funding formulas to correct "grossly unfair" distribution of money under President Barack Obama's health care law.

Analysts say the language would let states count federal Medicaid dollars they'd rejected in a formula determining the size of states' new health care block grants.

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3:50 p.m.

A group that represents state officials who administer Medicaid programs is telling Senate Republicans to slow down and rethink their latest health care bill.

The board of the National Association of Medicaid Directors says its members are concerned that the Senate is rushing to make major changes in health programs for low-income people — with far-reaching consequences for state budgets that aren't fully understood.

The group wants Congress to revisit Medicaid changes.

Republicans control 34 governors' mansions, so the group's statement stands as a bipartisan warning to GOP senators intent on voting next week.

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11:45 a.m.

A study finds the latest GOP effort to end "Obamacare" would take federal dollars away from states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The study says the states that didn't expand Medicaid would initially get more federal dollars under the Republican Graham-Cassidy bill.

The nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation study came out Thursday. It estimates the states that didn't expand Medicaid would get an average of 12 percent more.

The study says states that expanded Medicaid to serve more low-income adults would face a cut of around 11 percent from 2020-2026.

The biggest losers, percentage-wise, would be: New York, Oregon, Connecticut, Vermont and Minnesota. California would be the biggest loser in dollars.

The biggest winners would be: Mississippi, Texas, Kansas, Georgia, South Dakota, and Tennessee.

But the study says those gains could vanish over time.

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3:55 a.m.

The Republican drive to upend 'Obamacare' with a new health law is getting a boost from a sense of political necessity.

There's fresh evidence GOP voters are adamant that the party achieve its long-promised goal of replacing the Obama-era law. Success is far from assured but many Republicans are feeling pressure to get it done.

GOP Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and South Carolina's Lindsey Graham have spent weeks concocting and selling the party's new approach to scrapping Obamacare.

They say their proposal, shifting money and decision-making from Washington to the states, nearly has the votes it would need in a showdown expected next week, a deadline that's focused the party on making a final run at the issue.