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A call from Trump led to Arizona's Doug Ducey endorsement of latest GOP Obamacare effort

  • September 21, 2017

President Trump phoned Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Saturday to discuss Senate Republicans’ latest effort to repeal “Obamacare.”

Two days later, the Republican governor used Trump’s favored social media platform — Twitter — to announce his support for the legislation that would represent a key victory for the president and Capitol Hill Republicans.

The phone call, confirmed Wednesday by The Arizona Republic, centered on Trump and Ducey’s shared interest in an overhaul of the Affordable Care Act, and legislation introduced by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Bill Cassidy, R-La., to roll back the ACA.

The Senate is preparing for a vote next week on the Graham-Cassidy legislation.

Ducey’s spokesman, Daniel Scarpinato, said the Trump-Ducey conversation followed weeks of meetings and conversations between the governor and his staff and Trump’s administration, including Vice President Pence and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, as well as Graham and health policy experts.

Those conversations had been ongoing since July, when Sen. John McCain sank the last effort to repeal and replace Obamacare with a dramatic late-night, thumbs-down vote.

Throughout U.S. Senate deliberations over the failed “skinny” repeal, the Republican repeatedly said he wanted to ensure any new law didn’t punish Arizona, and that his vote would be “largely guided” by Ducey’s analysis.

Despite Ducey’s support of that failed effort, McCain voted against it.

It was with McCain an undecided and pivotal vote on yet another Republican repeal effort, that Trump phoned Ducey Saturday at the governor’s Paradise Valley home. 

“They shared their mutual desire to repeal Obamacare,” Scarpinato said. “They’re both business people and are committed to action in the proper direction, and the president is someone, from the governor’s perspective, with high expectations, and a sense of urgency.

“Obviously, discussions with the administration, and with members of the Senate, have been something that’s been ongoing since the beginning of the year.” 

Scarpinato declined to disclose additional details of the conversation.

But on Monday, Ducey announced his support for the Graham-Cassidy legislation.

“Graham-Cassidy is the best path forward to repeal and replace Obamacare,” Ducey tweeted. “I will continue to work with the Congress and the administration to give states more flexibility and more options moving forward. Congress has 12 days to say ‘yes’ to Graham-Cassidy. It’s time for them to get the job done.”

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