GOP senator: I need ‘a complete overhaul to get to a yes’ on the health care bill
WASHINGTON — Sen. Susan Collins told CNN she needs a “complete overhaul” of a health care bill during a quick interview in the Senate hallways on Monday.
“It was really interesting being back home last week because the one and only (thing) that came up, no matter where I was, time and again, was health care,” she said about her trip back to Maine. “I do need a complete overhaul to get to a yes.”
She also said that she hoped her GOP Senate colleagues would “take another look” at the bill she introduced with fellow Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy.
In their bill, the duo promised that the proposal would give more power to the states on health care policy, increase access to affordable insurance and help cover millions of Americans who are currently uninsured.
At the core of their proposal: Any state that likes Obamacare can keep it.
“I’m not claiming that bill’s perfect but it provides a foundation from where we could proceed,” she said.
She also said she wants to work with Democrats — but is receiving unclear messages from Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
“The Democratic leader has given very conflicting signals over whether or not he really wants to work with Republicans,” she said. “My hope is that we can avoid the mistake that President (Barack) Obama made when he passed a major health care reform bill, the Affordable Care Act, without a single Republican vote.”
She continued: “I don’t want to see us make the same mistake and pass an overhaul of the law without a single Democratic vote. We get far better legalization when both parties work in good faith to reach a solution.”
Schumer earlier this year had said Democrats would not work on a health care plan with Republicans if efforts to repeal Obamacare were a part of the new legislation, and Republican leaders have been trying to pass their bill through a Senate procedure called “reconciliation,” which would only require 50 votes to pass.
On Monday, Schumer and three other Democratic leaders in the Senate sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, outlining several ideas for fixing health care that had Democratic support.
“We stand ready to work on these and other reforms to the current system and urge you to join us in advancing measures that would have an immediate impact on improving the health care system for American families,” the four Democratic leaders wrote jointly in the letter.
CNN’s Ted Barrett and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.