- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said Sunday it’s “very difficult” to see a scenario in which she would support the Obamacare repeal bill being pushed by fellow GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.

“It’s very difficult for me to envision a scenario where I would end up voting for this bill,” Mrs. Collins said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I have a number of serious reservations about it.”

She said she’s concerned about the effect of the bill on Medicaid recipients, on costs and coverage, and on people with pre-existing conditions like asthma, cancer and diabetes.

Mr. McCain announced Friday that he couldn’t support the bill, saying he wants legislation to go through the regular committee process and that Republicans shouldn’t try to jam things through on a party-line basis like Democrats did with the original legislation.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky also has said he’s opposed. Assuming no Democrats vote for it, Republicans can afford no more than two defections in order to get to 50 votes, with Vice President Mike Pence presumably there to break any 50-50 tie.

Mrs. Collins, Mr. McCain and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski helped doom Republicans’ previous major push on Obamacare repeal legislation over the summer. Mrs. Murkowski has not officially announced whether she plans to vote yes or no on the new bill.

Republicans are racing against an end-of-month deadline to use a fast-track budget tool that would allow them to pass the health care legislation with simple majorities in the House and Senate, bypassing a potential Democratic filibuster in the Senate.

If they blow through the deadline, they also could pass a 2018 budget resolution with such language, but they had hoped to use the next budget for tax reform after including the fast-track language for health care in the 2017 budget blueprint.

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