Collins criticizes Trump health care moves

Greg Nash

GOP Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) voiced opposition Friday to President Trump’s decision to withdraw a key subsidy to insurers meant to help people afford health insurance under ObamaCare.

Collins, who earlier on Friday announced she was staying in the Senate and would not seek her state’s governorship, said the payments were important in helping the poor get health insurance. The White House says the payments are a bailout of the insurance companies and an abuse of executive power launched by the previous administration.

She also expressed concern about a separate executive order issued by Trump that the White House says will lower premiums by allowing insurers to offer cheaper plans. Critics, including some insurers, argue the changes could raise costs on plans for sicker people.

{mosads}“I will say that I am very concerned about the president’s executive order that was issued yesterday and his decision to do away with an important subsidy that helps very low income people,” Collins said during a local Chamber of Commerce event in Maine. 

Collins, who didn’t support the Affordable Care Act, voted against a slimmed-down GOP ObamaCare repeal bill and has been critical in general of GOP efforts to repeal and replace the health care law. 

She took multiple swipes at the Senate’s legislation on Friday, noting her party “repeated the same mistakes” Democrats made when they passed ObamaCare. 

“The Senate Republican health care bills were drafted behind close doors. By the way, it was a group of 13 men who did it,” Collins said. “It completely bypassed the standard legislative process.”

Collins joined with GOP Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and John McCain (Ariz.) to block a “skinny” repeal of ObamaCare. 

Collins, McCain and GOP Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) also teamed up against legislation from GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (La.) that would have turned ObamaCare’s exchanges and Medicaid expansion into block grants for the states.

She said on Friday that the Graham-Cassidy legislation “was a very bad bill” for her home state. 

“If senators can adjust a funding formula over a weekend to help a single state they could just as easily adjust that formula in the future to hurt that state,” she said. 

Collins also outlined what she believes Congress should do on health care, including controlling costs, addressing the “spiraling cost of prescription drugs,” increasing transparency and stabilizing the insurance market. 

Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) are trying to reach a deal on legislation to provide the payments to insurers in return for more flexibility on state waivers and the ability to buy so-called “copper plans” that include less coverage but are cheaper. 

Tags Bill Cassidy John McCain Lamar Alexander Lindsey Graham Lisa Murkowski ObamaCare Patty Murray Rand Paul Susan Collins

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