IN Focus: Sessions, Spicer, health care top this week’s DC headlines

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WASHINGTON – After another whirlwind week in the nation’s capital, many questions remain about the path forward for key Trump administration officials, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was the focus of a scathing report in the Washington Post which claimed Sessions had discussed campaign issues in a meeting with Russian officials last year.

The report has led to new questions about Sessions’ future and whether his resignation may soon be at hand, just days after White House press secretary Sean Spicer announced he would be stepping down.

By the end of the week, the controversies largely overshadowed the ongoing health care debate, with the Senate’s health care plan still in limbo.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could still hold a vote next week on health care, though it seems unlikely he has the votes to get a bill passed.

An analysis delivered privately to governors during the National Governors Association conference this past weekend outlines potential cuts in federal Medicaid funding to individual states under the latest Senate proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Published online by POLITICO, the study conducted and presented by the consulting firm Avalere Health found Indiana’s federal Medicaid funds would decline by $36.5 billion by 2036.

Trump administration officials in attendance, including Medicaid administrator Seema Verma, reportedly urged governors not accept the findings, which in Indiana would mean state lawmakers would need to find tens-of-billions of dollars over the next two decades, without changing Medicaid eligibility, benefits or raising taxes, to help the roughly one in five Hoosiers currently covered by Medicaid.

“Part of the reason I’m not weighing in, these figures change by the day and by the hour,” Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said Monday during a stop in Fort Wayne.

“We will definitely weigh in and share our analysis on a bill when I’m confident it will A. be scored and B. be scheduled for a vote and be voted on,” Holcomb said. “And right now I don’t want to chase rabbits and throw out speculation.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delayed a scheduled vote this week on the Senate bill after Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) underwent emergency surgery before eventually announcing he had been diagnosed with brain cancer.

Heading into next week, a number of key Republicans remain undecided in their vote, including Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.). A spokesperson for Young declined Monday to elaborate on his specific concerns or deliberations as pressure mounts on Senate Republicans to take a stance ahead of a vote, a date that is now yet to be determined.

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