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 CollinsSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Ryan: Graham-Cassidy 'best, last chance' to repeal ObamaCare Collins skeptical of new ObamaCare repeal effort 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 PaulSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Lawmakers grapple with warrantless wiretapping program MORE (R-Ky.) has already said he opposes the bill, in addition to Collins. Other conservative senators, including Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Senate passes 0B defense bill Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea MORE (R-Utah) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea GOP state lawmakers meet to plan possible constitutional convention 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.