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Appalachia Health News tells the story of our health challenges and how we overcome them throughout the region. 

Capito Wants More Medicaid, Opioid Treatment Funding in Republican Healthcare Bill

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AP Photos
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Sen. Shelley Moore Capito at the Republican National Convention in 2016.

"I waited for changes; they never came." --Sen. Shelley Moore Capito

A day after announcing she could not support the Senate Republican-backed healthcare overhaul plan, West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said Wednesday she will offer her own changes to the bill which she thinks could make it more palatable in West Virginia.

In a press call with reporters, Capito said she knew more than a week ago she could not support the bill that is designed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but she did not formally release a statement about her stance until after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday he's delaying a vote because of opposition in his caucus.

Capito said she wants the bill to include subsidies that help make health care more affordable for low-income Americans.

She wants an additional $45 billion included for opioid and substance abuse treatment programs, and she said the bill does not include enough funding for Medicaid, the national health care program that provides insurance for hundreds of thousands of low-income and disabled West Virginians.

“I don’t think it’s good for West Virginia. I’ve heard from West Virginians, I can see for myself what it does," she said, "and I am absolutely opposed to the direction that that bill was going.”

State and national groups have targeted Capito during the past several weeks, attempting to influence her vote on the bill. Many of those efforts are continuing with a final vote now expected after Congress’s 4th of July break.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has expressed opposition to the Republican healthcare plan since the House of Representatives approved its proposal in early May. 

Ashton Marra covers the Capitol for West Virginia Public Radio and can be heard weekdays on West Virginia Morning, the station’s daily radio news program. Ashton can also be heard Sunday evenings as she brings you state headlines during NPR’s weekend edition of All Things Considered. She joined the news team in October of 2012.

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