Sen. Collins’ opposition kills GOP health care drive

WASHINGTON (AP) — The last-gasp Republican drive to tear down President Barack Obama’s health care law essentially died Monday as Maine Sen. Susan Collins joined a small but decisive cluster of GOP senators in opposing the push.

The Maine moderate said in a statement that the legislation would make “devastating” cuts in the Medicaid program for poor and disabled people, drive up premiums for millions and weaken protections Obama’s law gives people with pre-existing medical conditions.

Collins told reporters that she made her decision despite receiving a phone call from President Donald Trump, who’s been futilely trying to press unhappy GOP senators to back the measure.

She said the legislation is “deeply flawed,” despite several changes its sponsors have made in an effort to round up support.

The collapse of the legislation marks a replay of the embarrassing loss Trump and party leaders suffered in July, when the Senate rejected three attempts to pass legislation erasing the 2010 statute. The GOP has made promises to scrap the law a high-profile campaign vow for years.

With their narrow 52-48 majority and solid Democratic opposition, three GOP “no” votes would doom the bill. GOP Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Texas’ Ted Cruz have said they oppose the measure, though Cruz aides said he was seeking changes that would let him vote yes.

The only way Republicans could revive the bill would be to change opposing senators’ minds, something they’ve been trying unsuccessfully to do for months.

The Senate must vote this week for Republicans to have any chance of prevailing with their narrow margin. Next Sunday, protections expire against a Democratic filibuster, bill-killing delays that Republicans lack the votes to overcome.

It was unclear if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., would have a roll call if he knew it would lose.

Collins announced her decision shortly after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said “millions” of Americans would lose coverage under the bill and projected it would impose $1 trillion in Medicaid cuts through 2026.

No. 3 Senate GOP leader John Thune of South Dakota conceded that the measure’s prospects were “bleak.”

WFLA.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s