Transcript for Collins: GOP Senate health care bill would make 'sweeping and deep' Medicaid Cuts
The senate health care bill provides the most vulnerable in our society. It improves and strengthens medicaid. It give you, America's governors, what you need to offer better outcomes to the citizens of your states. Is there that was vice president pence making the case to the nation's governors. Overnight, the vote on that bill was once against delayed. Senate majority leader Mitch Mcconnell postponed the vote because senator John McCain needs time to recover from surgery before coming back to Washington. I'm joined by Susan Collins from Maine who has made it clear she's opposed to the bill as it stands right now. Thank you for joining us. My pleasure. You heard vice president pence say it provides for the most vulnerable. Protects medicaid, and will lead to better outcomes. Is he right? I would respectfully disagree. Let me extend wishes to my friend and colleague John McCain as he recovers from his surgery. That has led, as you indicated, to a delay in consideration for this bill. This bill would make sweeping and deep cuts in the medicaid program, which has been a safety net program on the books for more th!n 50 years. Ensuring that some of our most vulnerable citizens, our disabled children, our low-income seniors, receive the health care that they need. It would also jeopardize the very existence of our rural hospitals and our nursing homes, which not only provide essential care to people in rural America, but also are major employers in the small communities in which they are located. And worst of all, these changes would be made without the senate having held a single hearing to evaluate their impact. But, the vote's been delayed. Did Mcconnell have the votes to get it passed? I don't know. I think it would be extremely close. There are many of us who have concerned about the bill. Particularly the cuts in the medicaid program. But there are other problems with the bill, as well. It could lead to insurance plans that really are barely insurance at all. It would cause premiums to increase for some very vulnerable individuals. Including those with pre-existing conditions, depending on what states decide to do. So -- there are a lot of us who have concerns about the bill. On the senate side, I would estimate that there are about eight to ten Republican senators who have deep concerns. But how this would all trance late out, I'm not certain. I never underestimate leader Mcconnell's skills. That's a good idea. If you look at medicaid, you have mentioned repeatedly, isn't medicaid spending out of control. The estimates, medicaid is estimated to be at nearly $1 trillion a year by 2025. A 70% increase in medicaid spending over the course of a decade. You heard the vice president. He said this bill puts medicaid on a more sustainable path. You would acknowledge that right now it's not on a sustainable path. I would never say that the medicaid program should not the scrutinized to see if we can lower the costs. I believe there's a good mod until Indiana, which applied a managed care approach to the expansion of medicaid. That was done in that state under the affordable care act. That offers a very useful model that a I believe could be replicated in other states. But to totally change the program and to set a future insurance -- future inflation rate that we know will not cover the Kos of medical care at a time when the baby boomer generation is going to be needing those services is not the way we should proceed. Should we proceed to have careful hearings and look at what we can do to make sure that the medicaid program can continue to be there for future generations without bankrupting the federal budget? Absolutely. But we haven't had that kind of in-depth analysis. Public hearings to vet all kinds of ideas that would be useful in lowering costs of the program and producing better outcomes, which is what the Indiana model has done. So the president says that this must happen. That after seven years of what he calls the Obamacare disaster, it must happen. Have you heard from him? When was the last time you spoke to the president about this? I spoke to the president at the white house at a meeting that was held of the Republican caucus a few weeks ago. I have been in touch with members of his -- administration. Who have talked to me about the bill and of course, there have been some changes made in the bill. So it still seems to be a work in progress. Let me make cheer, I think there are substantial flaws in the affordable care act. It has produced premium increases that are very troubling and difficult for people to afford. Particularly those who don't get the subsidies under the current law. And in some counties and some states, the markets are literally collapsing. So that even if you have a subsidy, you're not going to find that there's an insurance policy that you can purchase. So we do need to fix the significant flaws in the current law. But the way to do that is through the Normal process of committee hearings and expert witnesses and writing a bill with bipartisan support. President Obama in my view made a serious mistake when he pushed through the affordable care act without a single Republican vote. I don't want to make the same mistake in reverse and push through this bill without a single Democrat vote. All right, senator Susan Collins. Thank you for joining us. Thank you, Jonathan. I'm joined now by health and
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