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Sen. Susan Collins Says She Will Vote ‘No’ on GOP Healthcare Bill

Sen. Susan Collins - will vote 'No' on GOP healthcare bill
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine announced Monday that she will oppose the Republican ObamaCare healthcare repeal and replace bill known as Graham-Cassidy, effectively killing GOP’s efforts to repeal Affordable Care.

Her decision to vote ‘No’ means three Republican senators including Arizona’s John McCain and Kentucky’s Rand Paul, will be opposing the healthcare bill when it comes up for a Senate vote this Wednesday.

RELATED: GOP’s Graham-Cassidy Healthcare Bill in Trouble – Sen. Collins Announces She’s Leaning ‘No’.

Congressional Republicans cannot afford to lose more than two votes on Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill.

In a statement, Sen. Collins said healthcare is deeply personal and affects every American, and Graham-Cassidy is deeply flawed as were the previous versions of the Republican healthcare bills.

“Health care is a deeply personal, complex issue that affects every single one of us and one-sixth of the American economy. Sweeping reforms to our health care system and to Medicaid can’t be done well in a compressed time frame, especially when the actual bill is a moving target.,” she said.

“Today, we find out that there is now a fourth version of the Graham-Cassidy proposal, which is as deeply flawed as the previous iterations. The fact that a new version of this bill was released the very week we are supposed to vote compounds the problem.,” she added.

Sen. Collins listed her three major concerns with Graham-Collins.

“I have three major concerns with both the proposal that we were discussing last week and the newest version that was put together this weekend.”

“First, both proposals make sweeping changes and cuts in the Medicaid program. Expert projections show that more than $1 trillion would be taken out of the Medicaid program between the years 2020 and 2036. This would have a devastating impact to a program that has been on the books for 50 years and provides health care to our most vulnerable citizens, including disabled children and low-income seniors.”

“Second, both bills open the door for states to weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma, cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes. Some states could allow higher premiums for individuals with pre-existing conditions, potentially making their insurance unaffordable. States could also limit specific categories of benefits for Affordable Care Act policies, such as eliminating coverage for mental health or substance abuse treatment.”

“Health care is a deeply personal, complex issue that affects every single one of us and one-sixth of the American economy. Sweeping reforms to our health care system and to Medicaid can’t be done well in a compressed time frame, especially when the actual bill is a moving target.,” she said.

“Third, physicians, patient advocates, insurers, and hospitals agree that both versions of this legislation would lead to higher premiums and reduced coverage for tens of millions of Americans.”

She cited analysis by Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on previous Republican healthcare bills which confirmed the substantial negative impact the bill will have on majority of Americans.

“The CBO’s analysis on the earlier version of the bill, incomplete though it is due to time constraints, confirms that this bill will have a substantially negative impact on the number of people covered by insurance.”
She argued that even though the new version of the bill created by sponsors Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) contained more money for the state of Maine, the state still loses anyway.

“There has been some discussion that the new version of the bill includes additional money for my home state of Maine. The fact is, Maine still loses money under whichever version of the Graham-Cassidy bill we consider because the bills use what could be described as a “give with one hand, take with the other” distribution model.”

“Huge Medicaid cuts down the road more than offset any short-term influx of money. But even more important, if Senators can adjust a funding formula over a weekend to help a single state, they could just as easily adjust that formula in the future to hurt that state. This is simply not the way that we should be approaching an important and complex issue that must be handled thoughtfully and fairly for all Americans.”

“The Affordable Care Act has many flaws that need to be addressed. The current state of health insurance, where premiums are skyrocketing, choices are limited, and small businesses are struggling, needs fixing. My focus will remain on remedying these problems.”

With her ‘No’ vote, it is impossible for Congressional Republicans to pass Graham-Cassidy through the U.S. Senate.

Collins told the media that President Donald Trump talked to her on the phone Monday and Vice President Mike Pence called her over the weekend to discuss her position on healthcare.

“I told him that I would go back and look at the numbers one more time, but I was straightforward with him that I was not likely to be a yes vote,” she said, adding the process has been too hasty. “Last night, a whole new bill came out, which to me epitomizes the problem.”

SEE ALSO: Senate GOP face a Conundrum on Graham-Cassidy Healthcare Bill.

The announcement by the Maine senator came after the CBO released a partial score Monday of the Republican plan, saying Graham-Cassidy would reduce the budget deficit by at least $133 billion, but millions of Americans would lose health insurance.

The non-partisan agency estimates that between 2017 and 2026, “the legislation would reduce the on-budget deficit by at least $133 billion and result in millions fewer people with comprehensive health insurance that covers high-cost medical events.”

The Staff of The Liberal Advocate News




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