Sen. Collins opposes Graham-Cassidy, likely kills proposal

Sept. 25 (UPI) — Sen. Susan Collins on Monday became the third Republican to oppose to the Graham-Cassidy proposal, likely killing the GOP’s latest attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

The senator from Maine said the ACA has “many flaws” and “needs fixing,” but she won’t support the bill sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham R-S.C., and Bill Cassidy, R-La.

“Sweeping reforms to our healthcare 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 in a statement. “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.”

Collins said she takes issue with cuts to Medicaid, weakened protections for people with pre-existing conditions and projected higher premiums for tens of millions of Americans.

“The [Congressional Budget Office’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 said.

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Last week, Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Rand Paul of Kentucky each said they planned to vote against the bill. Had they been the only Republicans to say “no,” the vote would’ve been tied and Vice President Mike Pence could have cast a tie-breaking vote in favor of Graham-Cassidy.

McCain said he wants bipartisan healthcare reform with committee input as part of “regular order in the Senate,” while Paul said he wants to abolish the healthcare law entirely.

This isn’t the first time McCain and Collins broke ranks with their party to vote against repeal and replace efforts.

On July 26, the two voted against a straight repeal of the ACA along with fellow Republican Sens. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Dean Heller of Nevada, Rob Portman of Ohio, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

Two days later, Collins, McCain and Murkowski also voted against the so-called “skinny repeal” of the ACA.

“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,” Collins said Monday.

Republicans were wanting to pass the Graham-Cassidy bill using the budgetary process of reconciliation, the deadline for which is Sept. 30. It’s unclear if Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky will bring the legislation to the floor for a vote now that three Republicans oppose it.


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