01:13 - Source: CNN
GOP senator disagrees with Pence on Medicaid

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Senate Republicans unveiled a modified version of the bill Thursday

Collins said the bill would lower spending on Medicaid by about three-quarters of a trillion dollars by 2026

CNN —  

The Congressional Budget Office is not expected to release its analysis of the revised Republican health care bill Monday, a Senate GOP aide tells CNN.

The CBO was widely expected to release the report Monday, and it is now unclear when that assessment will come out.

The news came after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Saturday evening he would postpone a vote on the bill because Republican Sen. John McCain is recovering from surgery in his home state of Arizona this week. McCain’s absence from the Senate would have imperiled the bill because McConnell needs support from 50 of the 52 GOP senators to pass it, and two GOP senators, Maine’s Susan Collins and Kentucky’s Rand Paul, have already said they won’t vote for the legislation.

Collins said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that she remains opposed to taking up the Senate Republican health care bill because it would hurt some of the people who need care the most.

“This bill would impose fundamental, sweeping changes in the Medicaid program,” Collins said. “Those (changes) include very deep cuts that would affect some of the most vulnerable people in our society, including disabled children, poor seniors. It would affect our rural hospitals and our nursing homes.”

Collins’ comments came after Vice President Mike Pence pledged the bill, which among other things would eliminate enhanced funding for Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, would ultimately strengthen Medicaid. He and other top administration officials argue that states would gain flexibility to overhaul their traditional Medicaid programs through block grants or per-enrollee caps, allowing them to save money that could be used to stave off losses of coverage.

In a statement Sunday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said the bill had funding that would “ensure” low-income adults had access to affordable and quality care. In the statement, the agency argued states would devise their own plans to help people with low incomes, and CMS Administrator Seema Verma said her agency would partner with states to help them.

Collins said Sunday that she saw things “very differently” from the way the administration was pitching the legislation and pointed out that the bill would lower spending on Medicaid by about three-quarters of a trillion dollars by 2026 compared to current law.

Collins has said she plans to vote against the bill, reiterating the position in the Sunday interview. Paul, who has criticized the bill for not being conservative enough, has also said he will vote against the bill.

Collins said she was unsure if the bill would pass, while Paul, in an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” said he thought support existed for a “narrow, clean repeal” of Obamacare.

Senate Republicans unveiled a new version of the bill on Thursday. It includes a provision Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz has advocated to allow insurers to offer insurance plans that don’t meet the standards of Obamacare if they also sell policies that comply with the law. Collins said Cruz’s plan was “unworkable,” echoing the language of two leading insurance lobbying groups on Friday.

“I do want to see more flexibility in the insurance market, but Sen. Cruz’s approach is not the answer,” Collins said.

The CBO score for the previous version of the Senate bill said the number without insurance would increase 22 million by 2026 compared to coverage under Obamacare.

As for efforts to gain her support for the bill, Collins said that while President Donald Trump had not personally lobbied her yet, members of the administration have, including White House chief of staff Reince Priebus.

Paul said he had spoken with Trump as recently as Friday to convey his position on the health care bill.

CNN’s Tami Luhby contributed to this report.