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Susan Collins Opposes GOP Health Care Bill

Robert F. Bukaty
Maine Public
Susan Collins in Lewiston last month.

Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine announced Monday she’s opposed to both versions of the Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

In a press release, Collins said “sweeping reforms to our health care system and to Medicaid can’t be done well in a compressed time frame,” and she criticized her Republican colleagues for releasing a fourth version of their proposal this week, calling the bill a “moving target.”

Specifically, Collins said she opposes the estimated $1 trillion in cuts the Graham-Cassidy bill makes to the Medicaid program between 2020 and 2036.

The senator is also concerned about provisions of the bill that allow states to charge higher premiums for people with pre-existing conditions and eliminate certain benefits, such as mental health and substance abuse treatment.

Finally, Collins cited a preliminary analysis released Monday from the Congressional Budget Office that found the GOP proposal would have “a substantially negative impact on the number of people covered by insurance.”

Collins is considered a key swing vote on the bill. The latest version released over the weekend would have potentially sent more money to Maine, but that did not sway Collins.

“Huge Medicaid cuts down the road more than offset any short-term influx of money,” she said.

Though Collins does not support this the Graham-Cassidy bill, she said the Affordable Care Act has many flaws and she will focus on addressing those problems.

Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine also issued a written statement on Monday, saying the CBO analysis did not alleviate his concerns and calling for a bipartisan approach to fix the ACA.