June 5, 2017


From Maine, a Call for a More Measured Take on Health Care (JENNIFER STEINHAUER, JUNE 4, 2017, NY Times)

Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, has spent a lot of time thinking about how to deal with these "subsidy cliffs," even as her party's leaders press for the wholesale repeal of the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's signature domestic achievement.

As she and a handful of other Republican senators think about repairs rather than replacements, discussions that will intensify this week after the Memorial Day break, they are frustrating the grander ambitions of the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky -- not to mention President Trump -- to unravel the law as the House did last month.

Ms. Collins's résumé (she once oversaw Maine's insurance bureau), her relentless practicality and her state's particular vulnerability within the health care debate -- its population is old and largely poor, with a sizable part-time work force -- have placed her at the center of an issue that conservatives have tried to dominate in Congress.

"There is no denying that the Affordable Care Act has made insurance available to millions of Americans and allowed people to leave corporate jobs and start businesses," Ms. Collins said. "We are disproportionately affected, which is one reason I've spent so much energy on this issue."

Ms. Collins, omitted from the working group convened by Mr. McConnell, has formed a bipartisan working group that may help build a foundation for future changes should Senate Republicans fail on their own, which seems increasingly likely.

The only open question is how much additional money the GOP will end up throwing at Obamacare.

Posted by at June 5, 2017 7:26 AM