Maine Republican Susan Collins looks all but certain to oppose the latest effort to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a move that would likely kill the so-called Graham-Cassidy bill and deal yet another legislative blow to the Trump administration.
Collins, who voted against previous efforts to repeal the ACA, which is popularly known as Obamacare, told CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday it was “very difficult for me to envision a scenario where I would end up voting for this bill”.
Her “no” vote would likely deal a fatal blow to the senate bill as two Republicans, Rand Paul and John McCain, have already come out against it. Republicans hold a slim 52-48 majority in the Senate. A 50-50 tie on Graham-Cassidy would be broken by vice-president Mike Pence.
Collins told CNN she was waiting for a final analysis from the Congressional Budget Office, which she expected on Monday, before making a definitive decision. But she said: “I don’t know whether the CBO analysis will have new information that will change where I’m inclined to head.”
Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski, another Republican who voted against the last effort to replace the ACA, has also yet to declare a position on the legislation.
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has been expected to bring the bill up for a vote at some point next week, as he looks to pass legislation to fulfil a seven-year Republican campaign promise.
Graham-Cassidy has prompted opposition across the political spectrum and in the healthcare sector. On Saturday, the American Medical Association, the Federation of American Hospitals, America’s Health Insurance Plans and the BlueCross BlueShield Association issued a joint statement against it.
The groups said Graham-Cassidy would cause patients to lose important protections and undermine those with pre-existing conditions; would implement “dramatic cuts” to Medicaid for vulnerable citizens; would make coverage more expensive; and contained “unworkable” timelines for implementation.
The statement read: “Healthcare is too important to get wrong. Let’s take the time to get it right. Let’s agree to find real, bipartisan solutions that make healthcare work for every American.”
On Sunday, treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said that if the bill did fail in the Senate, the president would be open to negotiating with Democrats.
“To the extent they [Democrats] are willing to come to the table and fix it, the president would always listen,” Mnuchin said on CNN.