Sen. Susan Collins comes out against House GOP healthcare bill

Sen. Susan Collins comes out against House GOP healthcare bill
© Greg Nash

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids Study: ObamaCare bills backed by Collins would lower premiums Right scrambles GOP budget strategy MORE (R-Maine), a key centrist vote in the Senate, said in an interview published Thursday that she opposes the House GOP's ObamaCare replacement bill as it is currently written. 

“This is not a bill I could support in its current form,” Collins told the Portland Press Herald. “It really misses the mark.”

Collins pointed to the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the bill earlier this week, which found that 24 million more people would be uninsured by 2026 under the plan. In particular, like other more centrist lawmakers in both chambers, Collins pointed to the finding that low-income people and seniors would have to pay far more for insurance under the House GOP bill, known as the American Heath Care Act, than under ObamaCare. 

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“This bill doesn’t come close to achieving the goal of allowing low-income seniors to purchase health insurance,” Collins said. 

Collins’s announcement illustrates how tough the path ahead for the bill is. It is already a serious question as to whether the measure has enough votes to pass the House, where both conservatives and centrists have strong objections. 

However, the path appears even harder in the Senate, where Republicans can lose just two votes. Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulLexington mayor launches bid for Congress Trump-free Kennedy Center Honors avoids politics Meet the Iran hawk who could be Trump's next secretary of State MORE (R-Ky.) has already said he opposes the bill, in addition to Collins. Other conservative senators, including Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSupreme Court takes on same-sex wedding cake case House approves motion to go to tax conference — with drama Trump really will shrink government, starting with national monuments MORE (R-Utah) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzDebbie Wasserman Schultz marks 10 years as breast cancer survivor Foreign agent registration is no magical shield against Russian propaganda Let Trump be Trump and he'll sail through 2020 MORE (R-Texas), have strong objections, as do a range of more centrist Republican senators. 

House Republican centrists are worried about voting for the bill if it is only destined to die in the Senate. 

One possible change to the bill being pushed by some Republicans in both chambers is to increase the tax credits for low-income people and seniors, to address the affordability problems.  

“This is so complex. It’s important we do this right,” Collins said.