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June 27, 2017

Collins tweets: 'I will vote no' on GOP's ACA replacement bill

Foto: COLLINS PHOTO COURTESY / MEDILL DC, FLICKR, KING PHOTO COURTESY / U.S. NAVAL WAR COLLEGE, FLICKR
Foto: COLLINS PHOTO COURTESY / MEDILL DC, FLICKR, KING PHOTO COURTESY / U.S. NAVAL WAR COLLEGE, FLICKR
U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King both cited the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office's analysis released on Monday in stating their opposition to the Republican "Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017." Collins delivered her statement via three tweets on Twitter.

With three tweets on Twitter Monday night, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said that she would not support the current effort in the U.S. Senate to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

In doing so, the New York Times reported today that Collins joined fellow Republican Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Dean Heller of Nevada in opposing taking up the bill on a procedural vote expected as early as today. With Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin indicating he might be leaning toward opposing today's procedural vote, the Times reported "a collapse could be imminent."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, described by the Times as "chief author of the bill," has stated he wanted to bring the Senate's ACA repeal-and-replace bill "Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017" to a vote on Thursday before a planned recess for the Fourth of July.

In her tweets, Collins cited the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office's analysis of that legislation, released on Monday, as the driving reason that she plans to vote "no."

CBO: GOP bill would leave 22 million more uninsured

In its analysis, the CBO reported the GOP's Senate bill would:

  • Leave 15 million more people uninsured in 2018 compared to the ACA, "primarily because the penalty for not having insurance would be eliminated."
  • Increase the number of uninsured, compared to the ACA, by 19 million in 2020 and 22 million in 2026
  • By 2026, "among people under age 65, enrollment in Medicaid would fall by about 16% and an estimated 49 million people would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law."
  • Reduce the federal deficit over 2017-2026 by $321 billion, which is "$202 billion more than the estimated net savings" for the House version of the ACA repeal-and-replace bill.

Collins' three tweets

"I want to work w/ my GOP & Dem colleagues to fix the flaws in the ACA. CBO analysis shows Senate bill won't do it. I will vote no," Collins wrote in her first tweet on Twitter.

"CBO says 22 million people lose insurance; Medicaid cuts hurt most vulnerable Americans; access to healthcare in rural areas threatened," she wrote in her second tweet.

"Senate bill doesn't fix ACA problems for rural Maine. Our hospitals are already struggling. 1 in 5 Mainers are on Medicaid," she wrote in her third and final tweet.

What the rest of Maine's delegation thinks

U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, and U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, also cited the CBO report in making statements against the Senate's health care bill.

"This score is further proof that this bill will do more harm than good," King said in a statement sent to Mainebiz. "This bill will drastically increase the cost of coverage for older, working-class Maine people; put health insurance out of reach altogether for many others; and significantly gut Medicaid, forcing states to choose between serving the elderly or the disabled – all to give tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans. Simply put, this proposal is wrong for the country and this score should be just another reason on the long list of many for why we should abandon this bill and, instead, make meaningful improvements to the Affordable Care Act."

Pingree wrote: "If Republicans pass a bill that they know will prevent millions of Americans from accessing or affording necessary care, they've proven that getting elected means more than the lives of their constituents. From rising out-of-pocket costs to devastating Medicaid cuts, this CBO score makes clear that the Republican health care bill will have implications for the physical and financial health of our state for decades to come. Mainers deserve better. I strongly urge the Senate to put their constituents before politics and vote against this reckless proposal."

In a June 26 press release posted on his website, U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, who voted with the slim 217-213 GOP majority in approving the House version of the ACA repeal-and-replace bill, didn't directly address the Senate bill or the related CBO report. Instead, he highlighted Anthem's average 39.7% proposed rate hike for 2018 in Maine's individual ACA marketplace, stating: "Anthem's rate increases reinforce what has been known for years: Obamacare is failing and Mainers will suffer if nothing is done."

"The people of Maine have seen this problem get worse every year and are not fooled about what is the problem," he stated in the release. "Now, Democrats are trying to shift blame for the failures of ObamaCare, which has deteriorated every year since it became law. Their answer is to do nothing; that is unacceptable."

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