In the past few weeks, a swirl of different issues where Collins’ leadership could make a difference have come and gone–Trump’s tax returns, new revelations about inadequate staffing (and partisan stonewalling) on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Trump’s threats to blow up ACA insurance markets by withholding cost sharing reduction payments, and of course her resolute opposition to holding a town hall–and it’s been difficult to find an issue where sustained strategic pressure on Senator Collins might make a major difference. But Trumpcare is back from the dead in the House, and we need Collins’ help to kill it.
The first Trumpcare bill spectacularly failed to get to a vote in the House in late March since it was too heartless for the moderates and not heartless enough for the Freedom Caucus. However, recent negotiations between the two have apparently brought the Freedom Caucus on board via an amendment that would let individual states opt out of two of the ACA’s most popular provisions: covering those with preexisting conditions (high-risk pools instead), and including 10 essential health benefits in all insurance plans. This amendment pulls the bill further to the right, and is again being opposed by all major health industry groups because it keeps the disaster of a health policy that was the first bill, and makes it even worse.
Nevertheless, House leadership seems intent to whip up votes for the bill this week, putting significant pressure on moderates to let the bill pass and place the ball in the Senate’s court. Speaker Ryan surely knows that the bill as amended would need 60 votes to pass the Senate, but he seems to be hoping that at worst, he’ll be able to say he did his part, and at best, he’ll ultimately be able to sell a subsequent watered down version coming out of the Senate to the Freedom Caucus as their only chance at having ACA repeal signed into law.
So where does this leave Collins? Collins spoke out against the original version of the Trumpcare bill in March, but only in its current form, meaning that she was more than willing to work on revising it if it passed the House. We need her to reiterate her opposition now. If she speaks up, it will help show that the bill does not have a future in the Senate, spooking House members in swing districts to vote no.
And, if you happen to live in the second district, please call Poliquin, too!
Thanks for all you do,