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Collins To Oppose Graham-Cassidy Health Care Bill

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Republican Sen. Susan Collins announced on Sept. 25 she will vote against the latest GOP effort to repeal Obamacare.

Sen. Bill Cassidy, who co-authored the bill with Sen. Lindsey Graham, acknowledged that Collins' decision meant the bill was dead, according to NPR.

Collins released a statement shortly after the Congressional Budget Office provided a preliminary assessment of Graham-Cassidy's impact.

"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," said Collins, NPR reported.

The CBO stated that "millions" of people would lose coverage if the bill is implemented. The office said it did not have enough time to offer a detailed explanation of how many people would be affected.

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"It found, as I expected would be the case, that it would have a negative impact on millions of Americans who are now insured, so it was that final piece of the puzzle that I had been waiting to confirm," added Collins, referring to the CBO assessment.

Collins appealed to Democrats and Republicans to cooperate in bringing forward legislation to stabilize health care markets and keep costs down for people.

"Part of the problem that we have had has been the lack of hearings, debates and careful consideration and vetting of the health care replacement bills," added Collins, according to the Los Angeles Times.

President Donald Trump has been pressuring Republicans to back the measure, and conservative activists and donors are urging the repeal of Obamacare.

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Republican Sens. John McCain and Rand Paul previously said they will oppose the bill. With 52 GOP seats in the Senate, Republicans could only afford to lose two votes if the bill was to have a chance of passing.

"What McCain has done is a tremendous slap in the face of the Republican Party," Trump said during a call-in to a radio show in Alabama on Sept. 25, the Hill reported.

Paul has said that he opposes Graham-Cassidy because he thinks it does not go far enough in cutting spending on health care.

"My main concern is that the main thing this bill does is reshuffle the money from Democrat states to Republican states but doesn't fix the problem," Paul added.

It remains unclear whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will still bring the bill to a vote by the end of September. Republicans have until Sept. 30 to pass a health care bill with just 51 votes. After that date, they can no longer make use of the process known as reconciliation and would require 60 votes to pass new legislation.

Sources: NPR, Los Angeles Times / Featured Image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Gage Skidmore/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons, Gage Skidmore/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons

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