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Maine Republican announces opposition to GOP health care legislation

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published September 25, 2017 at 11:33 a.m. Updated September 25, 2017 at 6:12 p.m.

in-this-thursday-aug-17-2017-file-photo-us-sen-susan-collins-r-maine-speaks-to-members-of-the-media-while-attending-an-event-in-lewiston-maine

In this Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, file photo, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, speaks to members of the media while attending an event in Lewiston, Maine.


WASHINGTON — The Republican drive to tear down President Barack Obama's health care law was hurt Monday as Maine Sen. Susan Collins joined a small but decisive cluster of GOP senators in opposing the push.

The Maine moderate said in a statement that the legislation would make "devastating" cuts in the Medicaid program for poor and disabled people, drive up premiums for millions and weaken protections Obama's law gives people with pre-existing medical conditions.

Collins told reporters that she made her decision despite receiving a phone call from President Donald Trump, who's been trying to press GOP senators to back the measure.

She said the legislation is "deeply flawed," despite several changes its sponsors have made in an effort to round up support.

Trump and party leaders suffered a loss in July when the Senate rejected three attempts to pass legislation erasing the 2010 statute. The GOP has made promises to scrap the law a high-profile campaign vow for years.

With their narrow 52-48 majority and solid Democratic opposition, three GOP "no" votes would doom the bill. GOP Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Texas' Ted Cruz have said they oppose the measure, though Cruz aides said he was seeking changes that would let him vote yes.

The only way Republicans could revive the bill would be to change opposing senators' minds, something they've been trying unsuccessfully to do for months.

The Senate must vote this week for Republicans to have any chance of prevailing with their narrow margin. Next Sunday, protections expire against a Democratic filibuster, bill-killing delays that Republicans lack the votes to overcome.

It was unclear if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., would have a roll call if he knew it would lose.

Collins announced her decision shortly after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said "millions" of Americans would lose coverage under the bill and projected it would impose $1 trillion in Medicaid cuts through 2026.

No. 3 Senate GOP leader John Thune of South Dakota conceded that the measure's prospects were "bleak."

Read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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Comments on: Maine Republican announces opposition to GOP health care legislation

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RBear says... September 25, 2017 at 12:52 p.m.

Simple fact. Try to rush legislation through and it usually fails. If Trump doesn’t figure this out soon, he’ll be left with a first year of failures. The underachiever in chief just doesn’t know how to govern, something our country desperately needs now. Quit playing bully on Twitter and actually do some work, you lazy bum.

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ARTAXPAYER says... September 25, 2017 at 1:19 p.m.

I think this is an attempt to buy their votes and should be illegal. Bribery is uncalled for in the halls of congress.

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gohogs17 says... September 25, 2017 at 2:19 p.m.

McCain would kill it anyway.

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BoudinMan says... September 25, 2017 at 5:07 p.m.

Enough of this already. Fix it. Bolster it. Anything positive that makes it stronger and actually helps people. Do the extremists in the republican party even know how to help the average American?

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RBear says... September 25, 2017 at 6:24 p.m.

Anddddd ... it's DEAD! When will Republicans learn how to govern? This has been the biggest cluster in Congress in a long time. I know you promised this to get elected, but it was a DUMB promise to make. If that's how you view governing, making promises you can't keep, you deserve what you get. Let's see some primarying happen. That will only bolster Democratic chances in 2018.

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