Sen. Collins eviscerates Republican plan to cut Medicaid

Appearing on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, Maine Senator Susan Collins gave her most devastating assessment yet of the Republican plan to cut hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicaid in order to fund a tax break primarily benefiting the wealthy.

“This bill would make sweeping and deep cuts in the Medicaid program, which has been a safety net program that has been on the books for more than fifty years, ensuring that some of our most vulnerable citizens, our disabled children, our low-income seniors, receive the health care that they need,” said Collins. “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.”

While it took some time for Collins to come around to a position of complete opposition to the Republican repeal attempts, now that she has her condemnation has been more full-throated than any of her Republican colleagues. Her remarks are also politically damning for Maine Second-District Rep. Bruce Poliquin, who voted for the same Medicaid cuts Collins now criticizes.

“Worst of all, these changes would be made without the Senate having held a single hearing to evaluate their impact,” said Collins.

Giving the dire warnings she has given, it would be very difficult for Collins to reverse her position and vote in favor of the legislation even if substantial changes were made to the bill. To be defeated, however, one more Republican senator (in addition to Collins and Sen. Rand Paul, who opposes it for very different reasons) would need to oppose the legislation and declare their intention to vote against a Motion to Proceed to bring it to the Senate floor.

Maine’s other U.S. senator, Angus King, has long opposed the repeal plan and has spoken forcefully against it many times.

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