Gov. Ducey in Washington for meetings on health care

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Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (AP) -

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey made an unexpected trip to Washington to confer with Trump administration officials and other governors on a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, his spokesman confirmed Monday.

The Republican governor flew to the nation's capital on Sunday for the meetings, spokesman Patrick Ptak said.

The unscheduled trip comes just days after a measure repealing parts of former President Barack Obama's health care law failed in the U.S. Senate.

[READ MORE: Leaders in McCain's home state frustrated by repeal failure]

Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain cast the deciding vote against the measure that would have eliminated the mandate for individuals to buy insurance, suspended a requirement for businesses to provide employee insurance, delayed a tax on medical devices, and denied funding to Planned Parenthood for a year. After Friday's vote, McCain called for the Senate to work with both parties on a new proposal.

The White House, however, is insisting that the Senate resume efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and Ducey's unexpected trip to Washington signals that work on a repeal of the law that Republicans oppose isn't done. Ducey spokesman Daniel Scarpinato said Friday that the governor was "disappointed that Congress will be taking a recess without repealing Obamacare."

[RELATED: McCain vote touches off social media frenzy]

"However, the latest votes can't be the end of the effort," Scarpinato said in Friday's statement. "The problems with Obamacare and the health care insurance markets are real and continue, especially in Arizona."

It's unclear which other GOP governors also were summoned for the Monday meetings, although Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's spokesman confirmed he was also in Washington to attend.

Ducey pushed back against parts of the original proposal to repeal the health law that dramatically cut Medicaid, which currently insures about 1.9 million of the state's 6.8 million residents. He pushed for a slower phase-out of higher Medicaid expansion matches, higher inflation adjustments, elimination of a penalty for states that expanded parts of Medicaid early, as well as explicit flexibility for the program.

Both McCain and Sen. Jeff Flake said they were listening to the governor's concerns.

[RELATED: McCain, fighting cancer, turns on GOP and kills health bill]

Ducey, McCain and other Arizona Republicans do want major changes to the individual marketplace, however. Arizona has seen the number of insurers offering plans drop dramatically, and average premiums skyrocketed by 116 percent this year. However, more than 85 percent of the approximately 140,000 Arizonans who had bought plans on the individual marketplace in Arizona as of March 1 get tax subsidies to help pay for their premiums.

Associated Press writer Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin, contributed to this report.

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© 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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