Sens. Susan Collins, Rand Paul express doubts about Senate health care bill


(Via ABC News)

Sen. Rand Paul, one of the key Republicans senators in the ongoing health care battle, said on Sunday that his party has “promised too much” with trying to fix the health care system and assuring that the cost of premiums will be lowered.

“They’ve promised too much. They say they’re going to fix health care and premiums are going to down,” Paul said on ABC News’ This Week with George Stephanopoulos of his party’s health care plan unveiled Thursday. “There’s no way the Republican bill brings down premiums.”

As an ophthalmologist with 20 years of experience practicing medicine, Paul argued, “Premiums have never gone down. They’re not going to go down after the Republican bill.”

Paul added, “And it’s a false, sort of over-promising to say, ‘Oh, yes, insurance premiums are going to go down but we’re keeping 10 of the 12 mandates that caused the prices to go up.’ It’s a foolish notion to promise something you can’t provide.”

As one of five Republican senators who announced opposition to the bill in its current form, Paul said he would consider voting for partial repeal of Obamacare, if there’s a stalemate, but argued the Senate bill “isn’t anywhere close to repeal.”

“What we can do is if they cannot get 50 votes, if they get to impasse, I’ve been telling leadership for months now I’ll vote for a repeal,” Paul said. “And it doesn’t have to be 100 percent repeal. So, for example, I’m for 100 percent repeal, that’s what I want. But if you offer me 90 percent repeal, I’d probably would vote it. I might vote for 80 percent repeal.”

Republican Sen. Susan Collins, in an interview This Week, said it’s “hard” for her to imagine the Senate health care bill passing this week.

As conservatives like Paul on the right say the bill doesn’t do enough to repeal Obamacare, moderates like  Collins, R-Maine, express concerns that the bill put forward by senior leadership would harm the nation’s most vulnerable.

“I want to wait to see the CBO [Congressional Budget Office] analysis, but I have very serious concerns about the bill,” she told Stephanopoulos, referring to the non-partisan analysis of the legislation’s impact that is expected as early as Monday.

The Maine senator said she “respectfully” disagrees with White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway’s assessment that the Senate bill isn’t a “cut” to Medicaid.

“Based on what I’ve seen, given the inflation rate that would be applied in the outer years to the Medicaid program, the Senate bill is going to have more impact on the Medicaid program than even the House bill,” she said.

Senate Republicans can afford to lose only two of their members to pass the bill, assuming Democrats remain united in their opposition. Republican Senator Dean Heller of Nevada, who is up for reelection in 2018 and is considered the most vulnerable GOP senator running for reelection, came out in opposition of the bill on Friday.