Politics

‘Unworkable’ – Susan Collins Blasts Cruz Amendment

Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins remains opposed to the GOP Senate bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, rejecting the latest efforts to save the legislation.

Collins criticized an amendment by Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, which would allow insurance providers to offer plans that don’t meet Obamacare requirements as long as they offer at least one Obamacare-compliant option.

“It’s unworkable,” Collins told host Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday. “It will undermine the protections for people with pre-existing conditions.”

The provision, championed by Cruz and Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee, has been roundly criticized by the center-right. They say that the provision will increase premiums and perpetuate “junk insurance” schemes.

Two of the nation’s largest health insurance groups came out against the amendment, also calling it “unworkable.” Blue Cross Blue Shield and America’s Health Insurance Plans wrote an open letter to Senate Majority Leader McConnell Friday.

McConnell originally planned for a vote this coming week on an updated Senate GOP health care bill, but pushed back plans after Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain underwent surgery to remove a blood clot near the eye.

During the fiscal year 2012, combined federal and state spending for Medicaid was higher in Maine than in all of its neighboring states except for Massachusetts, according to Ballotpedia. Maine had the largest increase of any state when it comes to the percentage of the state budget dedicated to Medicaid between 2000 (11.4 percent) and 2013 (22.1 percent), according to the Bangor Daily. It was the highest increase of any state during that time period.

The Senate GOP can only afford two no-votes for the legislation to pass. Collins and Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul remain opposed to the latest proposal, meaning that McConnell needs all other Senators on board. That’s problematic because Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman is still uncommitted.

McConnell must walk a tightrope and appease conservatives who fundamentally believe that the government has no business in healthcare without losing moderate Republicans wary of any major overhauls to Obamacare.

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