Senator Susan Collin's visited ABC's This Week today to discuss the looming healthcare "repeal and replace" deathcare bill that is currently winding it's way through DC. Collins is one of 2 definitive "no" votes on the bill. She explains part of her reasoning - the massive and devastating Medicaid cuts, which would impact the most vulnerable. She had some pretty pointed words:
Jonathan Karl: You heard Vice President Pence say it provides for the most vulnerable. Protects Medicaid, and will lead to better outcomes? Is he right?
Collins: I would respectfully disagree. Let me extend wishes to my friend and colleague John McCain as he recovers from his surgery. That has led, as you indicated, to a delay in consideration for this bill. This bill would make sweeping and deep cuts in the Medicaid program, which has been a safety net program on the books for more than 50 years. Ensuring that some of our most vulnerable citizens, our disabled children, our low-income receive the health care that they need. It would also jeopardize the very existence of our rural hospitals and our nursing homes, which not only provide essential care to people in rural america, but also are major employers in the small communities in which they are located. and worst of all, these changes would be made without the senate having held a single hearing to evaluate their impact.
Karl: But the vote's been delayed. Did McConnell have the votes to get it passed?
Collins: I don't know. I think it would be extremely close. There are many of us who have concerned about the bill.
Funny, no one seems to be talking about those concerns much. In fact, except for Rand Paul and Susan Collins, everyone seems to be just fine pushing their tepid concerns away, keep their blinders on and ear plugs in, ignore the thousands of phone calls a day to the offices and pretend like there aren't daily protests on the hill and in their home state offices.
Collins: Particularly the cuts in the Medicaid program. But there are other problems with the bill, as well. It could lead to insurance plans that really are barely insurance at all. It would cause premiums to increase for some very vulnerable individuals, including those with pre-existing conditions, depending on what states decide to do. So -- there are a lot of us who have concerns about the bill. On the Senate side, I would estimate that there are about eight to ten Republican Senators who have deep concerns. but how this would all translate out, I'm not certain. i never underestimate leader McConnell's skills.
REALLY? EIGHT TO TEN? And yet, even with deep concerns, they are willing to vote for it? Give us their names.
Ok, then they visit Medicaid spending...
Karl: Medicaid is estimated to be at nearly $1 trillion a year by 2025 - a 70% increase in Medicaid spending over the course of a decade, you heard the Vice President. He said this bill puts Medicaid on a more sustainable path. You would acknowledge that right now it's not on a sustainable path?
Collins: I would never say that the Medicaid program should not the scrutinized to see if we can lower the costs. I believe there's a good model in Indiana, which applied a managed care approach to the expansion of Medicaid. That was done in that state under the affordable care act. That offers a very useful model that I believe could be replicated in other states. But to totally change the program and to set a future insurance -- future inflation rate that we know will not cover the cost of medical care at a time when the baby boomer generation is going to be needing those services is not the way we should proceed. Should we proceed to have careful hearings and look at what we can do to make sure that the Medicaid program can continue to be there for future generations without bankrupting the federal budget? Absolutely. But we haven't had that kind of in-depth analysis, public hearings to vet all kinds of ideas that would be useful in lowering costs of the program and producing better outcomes, which is what the Indiana model has done.
Kind of sounds like Collins wants....(gasp) a birpartisan analysis and discussion on how to fix the programs versus ditching them. Talk about revolutionary.
On to Trump's tagline that "Obamacare is a disaster" bullshit:
Karl: So the President* says that this must happen. That after seven years of what he calls the "Obamacare disaster" it must happen. Have you heard from him? When was the last time you spoke to the President* about this?
Collins: I spoke to the President* at the White House at a meeting that was held of the Republican caucus a few weeks ago. I have been in touch with members of his -- administration who have talked to me about this and of course, there have been some changes made in the bill. So it still seems to be a work in progress. Let me make clear, I think there are substantial flaws in the Affordable Care Act. It has produced premium increases that are very troubling and difficult for people to afford, particularly those who don't get the subsidies under the current law.
And in some counties and some states, the markets are literally collapsing. So that even if you have a subsidy, you're not going to find that there's an insurance policy that you can purchase. So we do need to fix the significant flaws in the current law. But the way to do that is through the normal process of committee hearings and expert witnesses and writing a bill with bipartisan support.
Let's see if any of those 8 to 10 other Republicans have the courage to stand up to Turtle Von Clusterfuck McConnell and ask for a bipartisan effort to work towards a plan that works for more Americans, versus repealing and replacing with a truly dangerous bill that will kill millions.