Susan Collins: Pence is wrong about Trumpcare’s Medicaid cuts

The Maine senator is one of two Republicans already opposing the Senate’s latest Affordable Care Act repeal bill.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) on CNN’s State of the Union CREDIT: CNN
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) on CNN’s State of the Union CREDIT: CNN

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) dismissed claims by Vice President Mike Pence that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) latest iteration of the Trumpcare legislation “strengthens and secures Medicaid for the neediest in our society,” noting on Sunday that the bill would hurt disabled children, poor seniors, rural hospitals, and nursing homes.

On CNN’s State of the Union, host Jake Tapper asked Collins whether Pence’s comments on Friday at a National Governors Association meeting were truthful.

“I would respectfully disagree with the vice president’s analysis,” she responded, warning that the bill would “impose fundamental, sweeping changes in the Medicaid programs. And those include very deep cuts that would affect some of the most vulnerable people in our society.”

“You can’t take more than $700 billion out of the Medicaid program,” she added, “and not think that it’s going to have some kind of effect.”

Pence’s false claims about the Medicaid program were also attacked on Friday by a spokesman for Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Collins told Tapper that there are “about eight to 10 Republican senators who have serious concerns about this bill,” adding that “we should not be making fundamental changes in a vital safety net program that’s been on the books for 50 years — the Medicaid program — without having a single hearing to evaluate what the consequences are going to be.”

Collins and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) are the two Senate Republicans who have already announced that they will oppose even taking up the bill. McConnell announced Saturday night that the Senate will not vote on taking up the bill until after Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) recovers from surgery in Arizona. With every member of the Democratic caucus opposed, McConnell would need every remaining Republican to back the bill and Vice President Pence to break a tie.