- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The politics of the Senate health care bill has spilled over into the governor’s race in Virginia, where Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam is pressuring Ed Gillespie to take a stand on “Trumpcare.”

The Democrat’s campaign announced Wednesday that staffers will read the latest iteration of the GOP’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare on Facebook Live the following day, saying they hope to help Mr. Gillespie, a Republican, make up his mind on the 142-page bill.

Gillespie still has yet to clarify for Virginians whether he supports Trumpcare,” the Northam campaign said in a press release. “Last week he ‘declined‘ to share his position with the Washington Post and ‘clammed up‘ on giving comment to Inside Nova. And despite repeating his support for a block-grant approach to Medicaid, Gillespiestopped short‘ of addressing any concerns raised by Democratic and Republican budget leaders on the current proposed health care bill.”

Mr. Northam has denounced the plan and said that it is “pitiful” that Mr. Gillespie has not picked a side.

Dave Abrams, a Gillespie spokesman, pushed back, saying Mr. Northam wants to “keep Obamacare even though it has driven insurers out of Virginia, raised out-of-pocket costs for patients, denied us our choice of doctors and killed full-time jobs.”

Ed believes Obamacare has been a disaster for Virginia, and needs to be replaced with legislation that does not punish fiscally responsible states like Virginia that did not expand Medicaid, protects those with pre-existing conditions entering or transitioning into the marketplace, lowers the costs of premiums and deductibles, and restores choice in our doctors,” Mr. Abrams said. “We have to strike that balance at the federal level and, at the same time, foster greater competition among providers and insurers to help bring down costs to patients.”

He also pointed out that Mr. Gillespie has said he has “concerns” with the GOP bill that passed the House, as well as the bill that is being hashed out in the Senate.

Mr. Gillespie and Mr. Northam are set to square off in the November election.  The winner will replace Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat.

Mr. Northam easily defeated former Rep. Tom Perriello in the Democratic primary last month, while Mr. Gillespie squeaked out a victory over second-place finisher Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, in the race for the GOP nomination.

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