U.S. Senators Collins, King Statement on Health Care Reform

Washington, D.C. —U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King released the following statement on health care reform:

“During the course of the past year, we met with thousands of people across our state to discuss ways to improve our health care system.

“We held forums with consumers, health care providers, and employers; hosted large and small group meetings; met with rural nursing home and hospital executives; and consulted with insurance regulators, actuaries, and other experts. We spoke with Mainers everywhere from parades, to grocery store aisles, to airports, to workplaces, to our Maine and D.C. offices about the challenges they faced under the current system and what impact the Senate health care bill would have on their access to affordable health care.

“After months of conversations and research, we both reached the same inescapable conclusion that the Senate health care bill would have been extremely harmful to our state, particularly to our most vulnerable populations, including children with disabilities and low-income seniors.

“Every version of the Senate plan would have increased the number of uninsured by millions and weakened important consumer protections. Premiums and out-of-pocket costs—which are already too high—also would have skyrocketed. For example, a 60-year-old couple earning $65,000 in Aroostook County would have faced a premium increase of 40 percent, to $37,291 per year under the Senate plan.

“In addition, millions of dollars in costs would have shifted to our state government.

“The Senate plan could also have driven already struggling hospitals and long-term care facilities in Maine out of existence, particularly in our rural areas, causing many patients to lose access to services and many people to lose their jobs.

“For these reasons and others, we believe strongly that we cast the right votes on behalf of the people of Maine.

“Both parties must now work together to fix the flaws in our current health care system so that it works for all Americans.”