WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she opposed the Republicans’ latest attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare, leaving the legislation short of the votes needed for passage.
“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 in a statement.
She joins Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in announcing their opposition to the legislation, which was authored by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.). With their 52 vote majority, that would leave Republicans short of the votes needed to pass the bill.
The party has until Sept. 30 to pass a bill under Senate rules that will allow for a simple majority vote. No Democrats are expected to vote for the legislation.
The Graham-Cassidy legislation converts a large share of federal dollars of healthcare spending into block grants, which the two sponsors have said will allow more state governments the flexibility to craft their means of providing health care. But critics say the money would amount to substantial cuts to programs like Medicare, and that it would allow states to weaken protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions.
Even though the legislation was revised over the weekend to provide more money to states like Maine, in an effort to woo Collins’ vote, she said her state would still lose money.
“Huge Medicaid cuts down the road more than offset any short-term influx of money,” Collins said.
She also cited an analysis released on Monday by the Congressional Budget Office that “confirms that this bill will have a substantially negative impact on the number of people covered by insurance.”
Jimmy Kimmel, who has been urging his viewers to contact their senators to urge them to vote against the bill, thanked Collins in a tweet, shortly after her announcement.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not said when, or if, the legislation will go to the Senate floor.