Republican Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) announced on Monday that she will oppose the latest GOP effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare, effectively killing the measure.
With Collins’s announcement, the bill by GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (La.), which replaces ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion and insurance subsidies with block grants, officially has three hard “no” votes among Republicans. GOP Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and John McCain (Ariz.) have also said they will oppose the legislation.
“Health care is a deeply personal, complex issue that affects every single one of us and one-sixth of the American economy, Collins said in a statement. “Sweeping reforms to our health care system and to Medicaid can’t be done well in a compressed time frame, especially when the actual bill is a moving target,” she added.
Meanwhile, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said he isn’t ready to support the bill “right now” but left the door open to ultimately voting “yes.” Several key senators, including GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), remain undecided.
“Sen. [Mike] Lee has not made a final decision on the bill but the latest version moves in the wrong direction by giving more power to federal bureaucrats and less regulatory relief for states,” according to a statement from the Utah Republican’s office.
With a 52-seat majority, Republicans can only afford to lose two senators and still pass a bill with Vice President Pence breaking a tie.
It isn’t immediately clear whether leadership will force a vote even though they are short of necessary support to pass a bill.
A spokesman for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said last week that it was his “intention” to bring up Graham-Cassidy but the Kentucky Republican didn’t mention a potential vote in his opening remarks on Monday.
But Rank-and-file members have expressed skepticism that they would ultimately have a vote.
Collins’s announcement comes as Republicans tried to bribe her by adding millions of taxpayer money for Maine in the legislation.
“If there’s a billion more [dollars] going to Maine … that’s a heck of a lot,” Cassidy told The Washington Post. “It’s not for Susan, it’s for the Mainers. But she cares so passionately about those Mainers, I’m hoping those extra dollars going to her state … would make a difference to her.”
But the GOP political bribery didn’t work. Collins said that Maine would still lose money under the Cassidy-Graham legislation.
“Huge Medicaid cuts down the road more than offset any short-term influx of money. But even more important, if senators can adjust a funding formula over a weekend to help a single state, they could just adjust that formula in the future to hurt that state,” she said.
Collins told reporters on Monday that Trump had called her and she told him she was “not likely to be a yes vote.”
“It’s very difficult for me to envision a scenario where I would end up voting for this bill,” she told CNN’s “State of the Union.”