Susan Collins Comes Out Against Obamacare Repeal Bill

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) announced Monday that she would vote against a new bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, leaving Republicans at least one vote short of what it would take to pass the bill ― and dealing what looks like a lethal blow to this latest effort at Obamacare repeal. Collins announced her opposition in a statement literally minutes after the Congressional Budget Office released a preliminary assessment of the bill introduced by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). That bill would cut Medicaid, replace the Affordable Care Act with a less generous set of grants to the states and weaken key protections for people with pre-existing conditions. The nonpartisan CBO concluded the bill would reduce federal spending but also leave untold millions without health insurance while destabilizing insurance markets. Collins had said she would not announce her position on the bill until seeing the CBO report, and she cited its findings in her announcement. With the CBO report confirming her previous fears of large coverage losses, Collins quickly released a statement decrying the “devastating impact” of Medicaid cuts and the slapdash process to get the bill to the Senate floor. “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,” Collins said. Republicans have been rushing to bring the Graham-Cassidy bill to a vote before the end of the month, when they lose parliamentary authority to pass repeal with 50 votes rather than the customary 60 it takes to overcome a filibuster. But that still means they can lose only two votes from within their caucus, since they have just 52 seats, and with Collins they appear to have now lost three ― because Sen. John McCain of Arizona announced his opposition Friday and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has repeatedly said he would vote no without dramatic changes that would inevitably lose support from other Republicans. Download
Utne Altwire: healthcare

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