Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine is trying to make up for her betrayal of Obamacare in her recent vote for the Republican tax scam that effectively repeals the Affordable Care Act by dissolving the individual mandate, which the Congressional Budget Office says will increase premiums by 10%. In exchange for her vote for the kleptocratic tax bill — that will, among many other crimes against the 99%, throw 13 million people off of healthcare and raise premiums for the rest of us — Collins demanded the passage of two measures to try to maintain aspects of Obamacare.
Now, Collins is essentially moving the goal post for her final vote for the tax bill, by doubling her ask before the bill goes into conference (during which the House and Senate must reconcile their versions of the bill). In one of the bills, which Collins co-sponsored with Democratic Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, the Maine Republican is now demanding that the federal government double their funding to states from $4.5 billion to $10 billion over the course of two years to establish high-risk pools or reinsurance programs to lower premiums.
“We know from experiences in the states of Maine and Alaska that high-risk pools can help to lower premiums substantially — by an average of 20 percent,” said Senator Collins. She supports the bipartisan Murray-Alexander Bill to mitigate premium increases.
The individual mandate requires coverage and enforces payment of premiums that subsidize the healthcare of poor Americans who cannot pay into the system.
Mitch McConnell and Collins have a verbal agreement that the Senate Majority Leader will support the passage of the two Obamacare funding bills and squeeze them into Congress’ spending agreement at the end of the year.
It may be too late for Collins’ 11th-hour Obamacare Hail Mary, however, as the House could opt not to challenge any aspects of the Senate bill, in which case it would pass uncontested.
But if the House wants to add changes, the tax scam would have to go through another round of votes. In which case, Collins is saying she won’t vote for it without double the funding to reduce premiums in the states. She could also opt not to vote for the spending agreement, which could hasten a government shutdown, a move most Republicans don’t want.
Collins doubling her ask has definitely added to the headaches of her Republican colleagues, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and made things even worse for the already-embattled President Trump who has not yet passed one item on his legislative agenda during his entire first year in office.
Democrats can only pray that Collins succeeds in holding up the Dickensian tax scam and preventing the demise of Obamacare, which has enabled over 20 million Americans to get healthcare coverage.