Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a key centrist vote in the Senate, said in an interview published Thursday that she opposes the House GOP ObamaCare replacement bill as it is currently written.
“This is not a bill I could support in its current form,” Collins told the Portland Press Herald. “It really misses the mark.”
Collins pointed to the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the bill earlier this week, which found that 24 million people would be uninsured by 2026 under the plan. In particular, like other centrist lawmakers in both chambers, Collins pointed to the finding that low-income people and seniors would have to pay far for insurance under the House GOP bill than under ObamaCare.
“This bill doesn’t come close to achieving the goal of allowing low-income seniors to purchase health insurance,” Collins said.
Collins’s announcement illustrates how tough the path ahead for the bill is. It is already a serious question as to whether the measure has enough votes to pass the House, where both conservatives and centrists have strong objections.
However, the path appears even harder in the Senate, where Republicans can lose just two votes. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has already said he opposes the bill, in addition to Collins. Other conservative senators, including Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), have strong objections, as do a range of centrist Republican senators.
House Republican centrists are worried about voting for the bill if it is only destined to die in the Senate.
One possible change to the bill being pushed by some Republicans in both chambers is to increase the tax credits for low-income people and seniors, to address the affordability problems.
“This is so complex. It’s important we do this right,” Collins said.