Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, announced Monday she would vote "no" on the new Republican bill to repeal Obamacare — delivering what could be a lethal blow to the legislation.
The decision followed the release of a Congressional Budget Office analysis that estimated the Graham-Cassidy bill would result in "millions" losing healthcare coverage.
"Healthcare is a deeply personal, complex issue that affects every single one of us and one-sixth of the American economy," she said.
"Sweeping reforms to our healthcare system and to Medicaid can't be done well in a compressed time frame, especially when the actual bill is a moving target."
"Today, we find out that there is now a fourth version of the Graham-Cassidy proposal, which is as deeply flawed as the previous iterations," she explained.
"The fact that a new version of this bill was released the very week we are supposed to vote compounds the problem."
The bill needs at least 50 votes to pass – with Vice President Mike Pence as a tiebreaker – before a Sept. 30 deadline under budget reconciliation, and three Republican senators have publicly stood in opposition: John McCain of Arizona, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Collins.
According to The Washington Post, a fourth Republican, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, indicated through his aides Monday he could not back the bill because it does not go far enough in repealing the 2010 law.
"We had an agreement and that was moved away from us," the aides told the Post. "His focus is on premiums, on cost. It's that consumers have sufficient freedom and options on the waiver pieces and the regulations."
The bill also has been rejected by national groups representing physicians, hospitals, and insurers. Over the weekend, six such organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association, issued a joint statement urging the Senate to reject the measure, the Post reported.
The advocacy group Save My Care is airing a new six-figure ad in Washington starting Tuesday that will include the opposition of the AMA, AARP, Medicaid directors in all 50 states, and patients' rights organizations.
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