by Anna Giaritelli · March 19, 2017
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is one of four GOP senators who oppose the American Health Care Act in its current form, but she said on Sunday if the bill is amended to meet her standards, she will support the Obamacare replacement plan.
“We have to deal with three issues. The first is coverage. Under the House bill, 14 million Americans would lose coverage next year — that rises to 24 million over the next decade,” Collins told NBC “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd on Sunday morning.
Last week, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise said the Congressional Budget Office’s calculations of how many Americans would lose healthcare coverage has been misinterpreted by the media, suggesting the CBO was overestimating the number of people who would choose to get off Obamacare.
Media reports last Monday touted the CBO’s finding that 24 million people will be dropped from their health insurance in the next 10 years. Scalise said millions will choose to get off Obamacare and find private insurance because they now have the freedom to do so.
Collins’ second proposal was fixing how the AHCA “disproportionately affects older rural Americans.”
“The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that a 64-year-old earning $26,500 a year would see an increase in his or her costs from $1,700 to $14,600. That’s unaffordable,” Collins said. “Third, we have to do something about the Medicaid changes, which ship billions of dollars of costs to the states, to hospitals and other people who are insured.”
The moderate Republican said she believes healthcare “as a practical matter” is a “right” for those who “go to a hospital” and receive emergency help.
Last Thursday, Collins announced the AHCA was “not a bill I could support in its current form.”
If all 48 Democratic and independent senators vote against the bill, Republicans could lose on two of their 52 caucus members to pass the bill, since Vice President Pence would break a tie. Currently, Republican Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah and Dean Heller of Nevada have stated their opposition to the bill — putting House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a predicament.