GOP bill would ‘jeopardize the very existence of rural hospitals and nursing homes’: Collins

Collins said about eight to 10 Republican senators are concerned about bill.

ByABC News
July 16, 2017, 10:23 AM

— -- Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine says the Senate health care bill would "jeopardize the very existence of our rural hospitals and our nursing homes."

Collins, R-Maine, told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl on “This Week” Sunday that the Republican health care legislation would “jeopardize the very existence of our rural hospitals and our nursing homes” because of its extensive cuts to Medicaid.

“This bill would make sweeping and deep cuts to the Medicaid program, which has been a safety net program on the books for more than 50 years, ensuring that some of our most vulnerable citizens or disabled children or low-income seniors receive the health care that they need,” Collins, R-Maine, told Karl on “This Week” Sunday. Those Medicaid cuts could threaten the rural hospitals and nursing homes, she said.

Collins along with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has come out against the new version of the GOP health care bill.

With them both in opposition to the legislation, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can afford only one more no vote to get the 50 yeses he needs to pass the bill.

McConnell announced Saturday night that the vote will be delayed while Arizona Sen. John McCain is recovering from surgery removing a blood clot from above his left eye.

Collins tweeted her decision Thursday to vote against any motion to proceed on the bill, citing the deep cuts to Medicaid.

She said on "This Week" that she is also concerned about the bill's giving insurers the option of offering bare-bones health plans.

“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,” she added.

The GOP senator said she also sees serious flaws in the existing 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,” she said.

The solution, Collins said, is to tackle health care through “the normal process of committee hearings, expert witnesses, and writing a bill with bipartisan support.”

President Obama “made a serious mistake when he pushed through the Affordable Care Act without a single Republican vote,” she said. “I don’t want to make the same mistake in reverse and push through this bill without a single Democratic vote.”

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