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Senate healthcare holdout Susan Collins never got call from Trump

KSweeley

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May 7, 2014
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Moderate Republican Susan Collins of Maine never got a phone call from Trump regarding healthcare overhaul. Collins voted against an Obamacare repeal two years ago and stands firm with voting against the current attempts, she wants a bipartisan bill passed for overhauling healthcare: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-healthcare-collins-idUSKBN1AA054?il=0

July 24, 2017

President Donald Trump exhorted every Republican to vote yes on a healthcare overhaul when it comes before the Senate this week, but one of his party's most vocal opponents of the bill, Senator Susan Collins, said he had made no effort to reach her.

"The Democrats aren't giving us one vote, so we need virtually every single vote from the Republicans, not easy to do," Trump declared Monday in the White House, appearing with families he said had been harmed by Obamacare.

Hours later on Capitol Hill, Collins, one of a handful of Republican holdouts and the party's most reliable moderate in the Senate, said she had not heard from Trump.

"I've had conversations with Vice President (Mike) Pence, and Seema Verma, and Reince Priebus has called me a few times, to discuss the bill, but the president understandably I think is focusing on others," Collins said in an interview on Monday evening with Reuters.

Asked if Trump had given up on her, Collins said: "I don't know but it sounded that way from one of his press statements that I saw. He said something like - 'Susan Collins, she's from Maine.' As if that explained it."

Collins, who voted two years ago against a repeal of Obamacare, repeated on Monday she would vote "no" on a motion to proceed to any of the known versions of the legislation now being circulated to repeal or overhaul the healthcare law.

The 64-year-old Maine lawmaker refused to try to predict what the outcome would be when the Senate votes on Tuesday on whether to open debate on a Republican healthcare bill. Once that episode is over, she said she hoped lawmakers would start work on a bipartisan bill on healthcare.

"My hope is that we'll end up going back to committee and doing what we should have in the first place: which is having hearings, perhaps coming up with several smaller bills to address the very real problems created by the Affordable Care Act," she said.

Collins, who said she had held individual discussions with at least eight Senate Democrats about some kind of bipartisan healthcare effort, said she believed Trump would sign a bipartisan healthcare bill. "At times he called for a bipartisan bill, and so I think he'd be fine with a bipartisan bill."

She was forthright about her problems with the Senate Republican approach, including its sweeping cuts to Medicaid, the government healthcare program for the poor, and the expected increase in costs for older Americans who buy private health insurance.

Maine's population is older, mostly rural, and one-fifth of the population is on Medicaid. The median age is 43, the oldest in the country.

"In northern Maine, where the (insurance) rates are highest, and the population is older, the information from what I've seen, it (the cost of insurance) would be like a third of their income in some cases. So I'm very concerned about that," Collins said.