Senator Susan Collins: Difficult to Envision Yes Vote on Cassidy-Graham Bill
In an interview on "State of the Union" with Jake Tapper, Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) explained:
"Jake, it's very difficult for me to envision a scenario where I would end up voting for this bill. I have a number of serious reservations about it. I'm concerned about the impact on the Medicare program, which has been on the books for more than 50 years."
Collins went on to suggest she is "very concerned about the erosion of protections for people with pre-existing conditions." Senator Collins will wait for the CBO results on Monday, but can't imagine how the CBO can score the bill, since Cassidy-Graham has continued to morph over the past few days.
When the Senate first took up the repeal-and-replace bill passed by the House, conventional wisdom suggested the Senate would modify the bill and create a more acceptable version. Instead, each Senate version has become more draconian, ending promised protections for pre-existing conditions and Medicare.
The bottom line is simple.
The ACA grand bargain, struck between the insurance companies and Democrats, is impossible to unravel without tens of millions of Americans losing their coverage. The Democrats agreed to keep the private insurance infrastructure and mandate insurance coverage for all Americans nationwide, in exchange for a dramatic improvement in plans: 10 Essential Benefits, no lifetime caps, no difference in prices for people with pre-existing conditions and scores of other protections for consumers.
Health care is now significantly better for millions of Americans. The Republicans' starting point—an insistence on eliminating coverage mandates—drops healthy young people from the rolls and requires the reduction of guaranteed protections for the math to work for insurers.
Their plans unravel as a result. But they will not stop.
John McCain's days are numbered. There will be a new reconciliation period established in 2018—and the battle will re-engage.
Watch the full interview below: