GOP ‘Swing Senator’ Collins Vows to Fix Obamacare, Not Repeal It

Published April 27, 2018

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) says she intends to continue working to fix flaws in the Affordable Care Act’s individual marketplace provisions, instead of voting to repeal Obamacare, after Congress omitted a $30 billion “stability package” from the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill signed into law by President Donald Trump in March.

In December 2017, Collins said she secured agreements from Trump and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), promising their support for two bills, the Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act of 2017 and the Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act of 2018, that would subsidize insurance companies, in return for her support for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

At an April 4 event at the Maine Medical Center, Portland Press-Herald reporter Joe Lawlor reported Collins said she planned to continue to fight to bail out insurance companies.

“I believe we have to do the ACA fixes or else the individual markets will collapse in some states,” Collins told attendees. “Inevitably, we’re going to have to do something to shore up the individual market.”

Collins’ positions on Republican initiatives are important because the GOP has a slim, two-vote majority in the Senate.

‘A Wealth-Transfer Rip-Off’

Jane Orient, M.D., executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons and a policy advisor for The Heartland Institute, which publishes Health Care News, says trying to stabilize Obamacare is a fool’s errand.

“It is not possible to ‘stabilize’ a market for a product that people don’t want and can’t afford,” Orient said. “If Obamacare collapsed, maybe Congress would repeal it and allow the marketing of true catastrophic insurance, with premiums determined by risk level, shorn of expensive mandates that benefit powerful special interests.

“More and more people are deciding not to pay for insurance that is really a wealth-transfer rip-off,” Orient said. “They are looking into direct primary care and health-sharing ministries.”

Costly to Consumers

Alieta Eck, M.D., a policy advisor for The Heartland Institute and a member of the advisory board for Christian Care Medi-Share, a faith-based medical cost-sharing ministry, says Obamacare’s real-world costs to everyday people have continuously increased.

“People who work for large companies are finding that they are not getting raises,” Eck said. “The cost to employ them is increasing, but the money is going to pay for the higher health insurance premiums fueled by the onerous Obamacare mandates on what must be covered.”