Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, released this statement following the passage of the House health care bill:
“Our current health care system is under considerable stress. In several states, the individual insurance market is on the verge of collapse, leaving consumers with no insurer willing to sell them insurance that qualifies for ACA subsidies. In many other states, those who do have coverage are experiencing large increases in premium costs, deductibles, and co-pays.
"Moreover, the ACA has been in full effect for years, yet nearly 30 million people still do not have health insurance coverage, and many find their choice of insurance and health care providers severely restricted.
“Although I will carefully review the legislation the House passed today, at this point, there seem to be more questions than answers about its consequences.
“As I review the House bill, the key questions for me include:
- What will be the effect on the people of Maine, including those who rely on the ACA for their health insurance coverage?
- What will Mainers pay compared to their costs under the ACA? I am particularly concerned about the effect on low-income older individuals living in rural areas. The House bill's tax credits do not adequately take into account income levels, or geographical differences in health care costs.
- Exactly how does the bill treat individuals with pre-existing conditions? There should be no barrier to coverage for pre-existing conditions as long as people enroll and pay their premiums.
- Will certain vital services for special education students be affected by the changes the bill makes to Medicaid?
- How will the changes in Medicaid affect individuals and families, states, hospitals, and other health care providers?
- Finally, will the bill make insurance more affordable and increase access to quality care?
“In order to answer these questions and others, we really need the Congressional Budget Office to assess the impact of the bill on coverage, costs, and premiums. That has not yet been completed.
“This is an extremely important debate with significant implications for millions of Americans. We need to spend the time necessary to get this right and work to achieve the goal of expanding access to health care that is truly affordable and accessible.”