Washington Report

Updates from Capitol Hill

Moderate Republican Finds Flaws in Democratic Healthcare Bills

health2In an off-camera briefing with reporters on Monday, just two days after the House passed its historic healthcare reform bill, moderate Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) had harsh words to say about all of the Democratic bills making their way through Congress. In fact, Collins said, “I think there is considerable unease on both sides of the aisle about the impact of these bills, and as more analysis is done, I believe the concerns will only grow.”

Based on her own analyses, Collins says that the bills would add billions in fees and taxes which insurance providers would pass on to consumers in the form higher premiums and that that they lack healthcare delivery and medical liability reforms. In addition, she said, the bills actually offer disincentives for small businesses to hire more workers or to offer more competitive salaries to employees for fear of losing tax credits.

Democrats have been hopeful that Collins and fellow Republican Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe could be counted on to vote in favor of the Senate bill, but it appears Collins can more likely be counted out—at least for now.

“I still believe we can put together a bipartisan bill that would reduce the number of uninsured, not penalize small business, not drive up the cost of healthcare and would make a real difference,” said Collins.

She’d like to see the entire bill rewritten and plans to offer an amendment that may come in the form of substitute legislation or fixes for various parts of the existing bill.

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