As we edge closer to the end of September, Republicans are becoming increasingly desperate to put the Graham-Cassidy health care bill (spell that ‘fiasco’) up for a vote in the Senate. They are under a deadline. If they don’t get it done by the end of this month, they will not be able to pass it with a mere 51 votes but will have to get 60 votes, and they know that is an impossible task.
GOP leadership does not have a way to assure 50 votes for the Graham-Cassidy bill. Rule changes allowing the bill to pass under a simple majority will expire at the end of the month. After that, 60 votes will be required, and that is not likely to happen as Democrats are standing united against it.
One of the huge hurdles Republicans face is earning the vote of Senator Susan Collins (R-ME). Collins has voted against the GOP in the past. Some of the concerns she cited regarding the Graham-Cassidy bill:
‘The premiums would be so high they would be unaffordable,’
Looking toward her own community, she added:
‘IF MEDICAID IS CUT THAT HOSPITAL WILL NOT SURVIVE. IT’S THE BIGGEST EMPLOYER IN TOWN. IT HAS 180 GOOD-PAYING JOBS. SO NOT ONLY WOULD PEOPLE LOSE ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE THAT THEY NEED, IT WOULD BE A DEVASTATING BLOW TO THE COMMUNITY. YOU COULD GO ALL OVER THE STATE AND FIND THAT WOULD BE TRUE.’
Isn’t it wonderful to see a Republican actually thinking of their constituents? In a day when the majority of Republican lawmakers are so bought and paid for by lobbyists that they should be wearing labeled jumpsuits with their sponsor patches, it is very refreshing to find one that isn’t!
Collins is doing something else that is virtually unheard of in the world of GOP politicians — she is reading and studying the bill, taking notes, and drawing up figures based on the legislation and how it will affect people. In an interview with CNN’s State of the Union, she expressed that she has “a number of serious reservations” including the bill’s impact on “cost and coverage,” Medicaid, and the “erosion of protections” for things currently covered under the ACA such as pre-existing conditions.
Collins has not stated that she will definitely vote “No” on Graham-Cassidy, but she is stating that:
‘I’M LEANING AGAINST THE BILL’
As we watch the Republicans toss up this “Hail Mary” pass to the end zone, we can celebrate the victory Collins had when she joined Senators Murkowski and McCain and voted no on the last attempt to strip people of medical coverage in July: