Maine senator: House GOP healthcare plan hammers my state

Maine senator: House GOP healthcare plan hammers my state
© Greg Nash

Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingSenate confirms No. 2 spot at HHS, days after Price resigns Overnight Defense: Mattis offers support for Iran deal | McCain blocks nominees over Afghanistan strategy | Trump, Tillerson spilt raises new questions about N. Korea policy Mattis: Staying in Iran deal is of US national security interest MORE (I-Maine) is raising warnings that the GOP’s ObamaCare repeal bill will hammer his home state.

“If you were designing a bill to hammer my state, it would be this bill,” King, an Independent who caucuses with Democrats, said at a press conference Thursday.

King warned that a 60-year-old living in rural Aroostook County, near the Canadian border, will see “their support for their healthcare coverage diminish 70 percent.”

A person living in Aroostook aged 60 and earning $30,000 in annual income would receive a $4,000 tax credit in 2020 under the American Health Care Act, the bill offered this week by House GOP leadership.

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In comparison, that same person would receive a $13,210 subsidy in 2020 under ObamaCare, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan research group that has calculated the difference in benefits for counties around the country.

A 60 year-old earning $30,000 in Cumberland County — the home of Portland, Maine’s biggest city — would see a 48-percent reduction in federal assistance, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

“The average cut across my entire state for a 60-year-old is 48 percent,” King said. 

“What this really is is shift and shaft. Shift the costs from the highest income individuals to those who can least afford it, particularly seniors,” he added.

A 40 year-old earning $30,0000 and living in Washington County, another rural area in Maine, would see a 39-percent cut in federal assistance.

King said he will discuss his concerns about the impact on the state with fellow Maine Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGun proposal picks up GOP support Giffords, Scalise highlight party differences on guns Agricultural trade demands investment in MAP and FMD MORE (R), a moderate who has voiced concerns within the Senate GOP conference over the House bill.

“I’m not going to lobby her, I’m going to talk to her, which is what I do daily. We’ll discuss it for sure,” he said.

King said he’s alarmed about the financial impact on constituents over the age of 50 who aren’t yet eligible for Medicare.

“The real people who are injured the most by this proposal are people between the ages of 50 and 65. Those who aren’t yet qualified for Medicare but who are still forced to participate in the individual insurance market,” he said. 

Collins has voiced reservations about the House proposal, which is drawing fire from Senate Republicans and Democrats alike.

Collins told Katie Couric of Yahoo News that the House measure would “not be well received in the Senate” and is unlikely to pass in its current form.

“I want us to slow down to take more time to be sure we get this right,” she said. 

- Updated at 2:01 p.m.