Beyond Repeal and Replace

The Republican plan for Obamacare scares GOP governors
A protest of the Republican health care effort on June 4 in New York City

Ashley Hurteau knows she’s not your typical public-health advocate.

In and out of jail, a recovering heroin addict equipped with few credentials beyond her personal story, the 32-year-old New Hampshire resident says it took waking up to find her husband dead from an overdose to put her on the path toward recovery. That and health care. Which is why, at a public forum on June 23, Hurteau stepped up to the microphone and pleaded with her state’s two U.S. Senators to fight with everything they had to block Republican plans to gut health care programs like the one she credits with saving her life.

“I got back custody of my son two weeks ago, and I’ve been sober 17 months,” Hurteau said as more than 200 people watched that afternoon in a law-school classroom in Concord, N.H. “Medicaid expansion is really about opportunity, the opportunity to get sober, to move on and to live a clean life.” She was there as a success story—and a warning about what could go wrong if someone like her didn’t have access to care during a time of need.

But scaling back Medicaid—the 52-year-old federal health care program for the needy—is exactly what Senate Republicans are vowing to do when they return from the July 4 holiday. It is a huge risk for the GOP and helps explain why Mitch McConnell postponed a vote on his party’s latest plan in the final week of June. The public defections betrayed deeper problems for the

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