Less than a day after Senate Republicans released a revised version of Graham-Cassidy tailored to senators who had withheld support of the bill, Senator Susan Collins of Maine announced she would continue to oppose the legislation on Monday. With Collins’ “no” vote, the Republican effort to repeal Obamacare has effectively died as she joins Senators John McCain and Rand Paul in maintaining their opposition to the bill.
Citing drastic cuts to Medicaid that would impact “our most vulnerable citizens,” the lack of protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and the likelihood of increased premiums, Collins said she could not support Graham-Cassidy.
“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,” Collins statement read. “Today, we find out that there is now a fourth version of the Graham-Cassidy proposal, which is as deeply flawed as the previous iterations. The fact that a new version of this bill was released the very week we are supposed to vote compounds the problem.”
Collins delivered a particularly biting jab that dismantled Sunday’s revisions of the bill, labeling them as essentially bullshit. “There has been some discussion that the new version of the bill includes additional money for my home state of Maine,” Collins wrote. “The fact is, Maine still loses money under whichever version of the Graham-Cassidy bill we consider because the bills use what could be described as a ‘give with one hand, take with another’ distribution model.” Boom.
Given that both Paul and McCain remain hard “no’s” on Graham-Cassidy as of Monday, it seems improbable that the bill will pass. If Republicans revised the bill yet again to suit Paul’s extremely conservative list of demands (i.e.: less Medicaid spending), more moderate Republicans (whatever that means) would undoubtedly drop their support of the bill.
A representative for the Senator Ted Cruz of Texas told The New York Times that he remains undecided on to the legislation as well. Senator Lisa Murkowski, who has voted “no” on previous Obamacare repeal bills, has not indicated her position as of Monday afternoon.
Unless the GOP can rewrite and vote on another iteration of Graham-Cassidy before Friday, when a budget reconciliation rule allowing a simple majority vote expires, the bill cannot move forward. But, hey, crazier things have certainly happened.