In a statement released Monday evening, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) officially declared her opposition to the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal bill, making her the deciding third no vote that will block the GOP’s last-ditch repeal effort from advancing this week.
Calling the revised bill released Sunday night “as deeply flawed as its previous iterations,” Collins blasted the legislation’s deep cuts to Medicaid, rollback of rules around essential health benefits like mental health care and substance abuse treatment, and waiver of protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
“This bill will have a substantially negative impact on the number of people covered by insurance,” she wrote, citing the preliminary report on the bill that the Congressional Budget Office dropped Monday night.
Read Collins’ full statement:
— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) September 25, 2017
The other two declared no votes on the bill, Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and John McCain (R-AZ), reiterated their opposition on Monday night, both calling the revisions made to the bill to send extra money to the states of senators who remain on the fence “unseemly.”
With support for the legislation crumbling and a vote before the September 30 deadline in doubt, the bill’s authors continued to insist that they can pull of the Hail Mary pass.
“We’re definitely within striking distance,” bill author Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told reporters on Monday. ”
But asked if he’d been assured by Senate leadership that a vote will take place, Graham would only say “I hope so.” He added that he will push for a vote even if the bill is doomed to fail in order to “hold people accountable.”
Alice Ollstein is a reporter at Talking Points Memo, covering national politics. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2010 and has been reporting in DC ever since, covering the Supreme Court, Congress and national elections for TV, radio, print, and online outlets. Her work has aired on Free Speech Radio News, All Things Considered, Channel News Asia, and Telesur, and her writing has been published by The Atlantic, La Opinión, and The Hill Rag. She was elected in 2016 as an at-large board member of the DC Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Alice grew up in Santa Monica, California and began working for local newspapers in her early teens.