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Voters Unaware of Changes to ACA Open Enrollment, Think Cuts Will Lead to More Uninsured   

From: Jim Williams, Public Policy Polling®

To: Interested Parties

Subject: Voters Unaware of Changes to ACA Open Enrollment, Think Cuts Will Lead to More Uninsured

Date: December 14, 2017

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds that many voters are unaware of the shortened open enrollment time period under the Affordable Care Act – 57% of voters are either not sure when the deadline is, or they think it’s later than it actually is. This is also true for 50% of voters who buy their own health insurance. Further, when informed of the Trump Administration’s decision to cut the open enrollment period in half from 90 days to 45 days, 61% of voters believe that this will results in less people having health care coverage, including 49% of those who buy their own insurance.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • Voters are largely in the dark about when the open enrollment period ends. Just 43% of them think it ends on December 15th, while 57% aren’t sure or say they think it’s later in the future than it actually is. Crucially, 50% of voters who buy their own insurance either aren’t sure of the closing date or get the date wrong.
  • The Trump Administration’s moves to curb advertising to raise awareness of open enrollment seem to be having an effect – just 36% of voters say they’ve seen any advertising about HealthCare.gov this year, 55% say they have not. Just 29% say they’ve heard “a lot” about the open enrollment period for signing up for healthcare in 2018; over 40% say they’ve heard “just a little” or “not much at all.” Only 41% of voters who buy their own insurance say they’ve heard “a lot” about open enrollment this year.
  • 61% of voters say they think that the Trump administration cutting the open enrollment period in half so that this year it only lasts 45 days compared to previous Open Enrollment periods that lasted 90 days will have the result of less people having health care coverage, including 49% of those who buy their own insurance.PPP surveyed 585 registered voters nationally from December 12-13, 2017. The margin of error is +/- 4.1%. This poll was conducted using automated telephone interviews for Protect Our Care.

The full results of the national survey can be found here.

The Facts Are In: Despite ACA Popularity, The Trump Administration’s Sabotage Will Deny Affordable Health Coverage to Large Numbers of Americans

This is what health care sabotage looks like.

As open enrollment ends tomorrow, people are starting to notice that the Trump Administration’s extensive sabotage – shortening the enrollment period, eliminating outreach and TV  advertising, cutting funding for navigators – means less people will get health care coverage than would have otherwise.

See for yourself …

Washington Post: ACA Enrollment “Almost Sure To Fall Short In The End Because Of A Compressed Enrollment Season.”  

Kaiser Family Foundation: ‘If not for the pronouncements of its death, and steps taken to hobble it, the ACA marketplace would actually seem, well, alive,’ Larry Levitt, senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation said.

NBC News: “The Total Number Is Likely To Fall Short Of Last Year, Which Featured Both A Longer Enrollment Period And A Far More Robust Outreach Campaign.”

Huffington Post: “Another Reason Experts Expect An Enrollment Decline Is The Trump Administration’s Management Of The Program, Which Has Included Neglect And Outright Sabotage.”

Reuters: “The Trump Administration Has Worked Hard To Undercut” Enrollment.

The Hill: “The Trump administration’s abbreviated enrollment period has left advocates acknowledging the numbers are almost surely going to be lower than the 9.2 million who signed up on HealthCare.gov at the end of the last open enrollment season.”

Bloomberg BNA: “Major Changes Made By The Trump Administration – Such As Cutting Funding For Outreach – Are Making It Challenging To Get As Many People Signed Up This Year.”

Protect Our Care Statement On Paul Ryan’s Inability To Accept The Truth

In response to the news that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) told reporters that lawmakers need to “revisit” the Affordable Care Act, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“Like a zombie, the GOP repeal agenda and their lies on the Affordable Care Act simply won’t go away,” said Woodhouse. “It’s not enough that Paul Ryan and Congressional Republicans have snuck health care repeal into the tax bill to rip coverage away from 13 million Americans and increase premiums by double digits on millions more, they are continuing to insist they will return to repeal in 2018 and they will lie through their teeth in the process. No, Speaker Ryan, the Affordable Care Act is not failing – in fact, it’s succeeding despite the GOP agenda of repeal and sabotage. Every county in the country has coverage, plans are affordable and despite the efforts by the Trump Administration to sabotage open enrollment millions of Americans are shopping for and enrolling in plans.

“Speaker Ryan, your party is in a downward political spiral because of your repeal and sabotage agenda on health care. It was reported today that you might retire at the end of the current Congress in 2018. Mr. Speaker, if you continue efforts to repeal the ACA and deny Americans affordable access to health care the issue of your retirement may well be decided for you.”

In Alabama, Health Care Wins Again

Doug Jones’ shocking win in Alabama might have changed the political landscape, but when one compares his victory to those on Election Day last month, there’s at least one striking similarity: health care. In November, candidates up and down the ballot in Virginia and Maine, Georgia and New Hampshire, ran on the expansion of health care and won. In Alabama, Doug Jones was deemed a “proud supporter of Obamacare,” loudly rejected GOP attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and made funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program the first policy mentioned in his victory speech. In short, despite the swirl of other issues, in Alabama, health care won again.

Health Care Was A Top Issue In The Election. “Using Google data, we can see the top-searched issue in almost every Alabama county when it comes to the U.S. Senate race in Alabama. The data covers five topics: immigration, crime, sexual harassment, abortion and healthcare… Healthcare follows crime in the list of most-searched topics in Alabama’s Senate race. That’s especially true in Marengo County, where a whopping 62 percent of Senate-related searches have to do with healthcare… There are four counties where Senate-related searches are evenly divided between crime and healthcare.” [AL.com, 11/29/17]

Doug Jones Was Labeled A “Proud Supporter Of Obamacare.” “Alabama Democratic Senate candidate Doug Jones argued at a rally over the past weekend that ‘We’ve got to quit playing political football’ over whether to repeal Obamacare. Jones’ Republican competitor Judge Roy Moore said that he will ‘vote to repeal Obamacare.’ … The Roy Moore campaign has continued to label Doug Jones a ‘proud supporter of Obamacare.’ [Breitbart, 12/11/17]

Doug Jones: “I Am Disturbed About Repeated Repeal Efforts.” “On his campaign website, he declares that ‘health care is a right’ and praised former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
‘I am disturbed about repeated efforts to repeal the bill or weaken it, leaving as many as 32 million more Americans without insurance, driving up rates for others and likely leading to the closure of more rural health care facilities vital in many regions of Alabama. That is a nonstarter,’ Jones says on his website.” [CNN, 11/27/17]

Doug Jones: Repeal And Replace “Not Something That’s Workable.” “As he emphasized his concern over the national health care debate, Jones made clear that eliminating Obamacare is not the solution. And voters, he said, shouldn’t be led into thinking that it is. ‘Repeal and replace is a political slogan,’ Jones said. ‘It’s not something that’s workable.’ After Republican politicians promised voters they would replace Obamacare once President Obama left office, they have failed so far to do so. Jones said the Affordable Care Act needs to be improved and that’s where the energy should be spent – not on doing away with it altogether.” [AL.com, 12/5/17]

Doug Jones Made Clear He Opposed Repealing The ACA, Pledged To “Fix” Health Care. “Democratic Senate candidate Doug Jones released a new TV campaign ad on Monday, focusing on his pledge to help ‘fix’ the problems in health care while attacking Republican opponent Roy Moore. ‘If it’s broken, fix it,’ Jones said as the ad begins. ‘Health care, it’s broken. You know it and I know it. But Roy Moore’s grandstanding and extreme views will do nothing to fix it and his policies will take us back to the past.’ … Jones also said he opposes abolishing the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, but said there are problems within the national health care law that need to be repaired.” [AL.com, 11/6/17]

Doug Jones Attacked Roy Moore Over The CHIP Program. “Democratic Senate nominee Doug Jones has accused Republican nominee Roy Moore of refusing to support renewal of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides insurance to about 150,000 children in the state. ‘Alabamians need leaders who will place a priority on improving the health care of all citizens, children and seniors,’ the Jones campaign said in a statement Wednesday.” [Montgomery Advertiser, 11/3/17]

Health Care Was The First Policy Jones Brought Up In His Victory Speech. “Jones thanked the volunteers who ‘knocked on 300,000 doors’ and made ‘1.2 million phone calls’ on his behalf, and said he’s ready to go to Washington to work on health care, particularly funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).” [The Week, 12/12/17]

Doug Jones Called On Congress To Re-Authorize CHIP “Before I Get Up There.” “So I – I have a challenge. I have a challenge to my future colleagues in Washington. Don’t wait on me… Take this opportunity, in light of this election, and go ahead and fun that CHIP program before I get up there. Put it aside and let’s do it for those million kids and 150,000 here in Birmingham.” [New York Times, 12/12/17]

Protect Our Care Statement On GOP Tax Scam Following Doug Jones Victory

#DelayforDoug

Washington, D.C. – Following Doug Jones’ historic victory in Alabama and the continued insistence of GOP leadership to ram their tax scam through and ignore the will of the people, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse issued the following statement:

“If the GOP attempts to jam their tax scam through in the aftermath of this election without allowing Doug Jones to be sworn in and the people of Alabama to be heard, they will make this colossal political miscalculation for themselves even worse,” said Woodhouse. “The Republicans wrote their tax bill, including their sneaky health care repeal, in secret, without any hearings or true debate, and passed it in the middle of the night – and the American people overwhelmingly opposed it even before last night’s political earthquake.

“Now, after the voters of Alabama made their preference clear, the GOP seems prepared to ignore the will of the people – all to rip health care away from 13 million people and raise premiums double digits for tens of millions more to give tax breaks to the wealthiest and big corporations. Majority Leader McConnell should commit to delaying final consideration of the tax bill until Doug Jones is seated. If he doesn’t, Jeff Flake, who supported Jones, and Susan Collins, who already has reservations about the bill, should compel him to do so with their votes.”

The Ghosts of Christmas Past

Republican Senators Called for Delaying Health Care Votes Until Scott Brown Was Seated, And Senate Democrats Agreed

#DelayforDoug

When voters flipped a long-time Democratic seat in the overwhelmingly Democratic state of Massachusetts, the next steps were clear: Republicans demanded a delay in important legislation until the will of the voters could be heard and Democrats agreed.

Last night, in the overwhelmingly Republican state of Alabama, the will of the people was heard when they flipped a long-time Republican seat in favor of a Democrat, Senator-elect Doug Jones..

Will Republicans be so anxious to pass their sneaky health care repeal and give their donors a Christmas present that they’ll over rule the vote that just took place, or will they follow precedent, process and regular order and delay a vote on this tax scam until the people of Alabama can be heard?

HERE IS WHAT REPUBLICANS WERE SAYING…

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “I Think That Means There Will Be No More Health Care Votes In The Senate Prior To The Swearing In Of Scott Brown, Whenever That May Be.” “‘I think the message of the moment is that the American people, all across the country, are asking us, even in the most liberal state, Massachusetts, to stop this healthcare bill,’ McConnell said. ‘I think that means there will be no more health care votes in the Senate prior to the swearing in of Scott Brown, whenever that may be,’ the top Senate Republican added.” [The Hill, 1/20/10]

  • Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “I Think The Majority Has Gotten The Message: No More Gamesmanship Here, No More Lack Of Transparency.” “I think the majority has gotten the message: no more gamesmanship here, no more lack of transparency, let’s honor the wishes of the people of Massachusetts and move forward with policy.” [Politico, 1/20/10]

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): “The People Of Massachusetts Have Spoken For The Rest Of America: Stop This Process, Sit Down In Open And Transparent Negotiations, And Let’s Begin From The Beginning.” “So here we are, and now the rumors are that they will jam this proposal through the House of Representatives and then bypass what has always been the normal legislative process. They should not do that. The American people have spoken. The people of Massachusetts have spoken for the rest of America: Stop this process, sit down in open and transparent negotiations, and let’s begin from the beginning.” [Sen. McCain Floor Speech, 1/20/10]

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME): “Brown’s Election Also Reflects ‘The Fact That So Many People Are Appalled At The Process By Which The Health Care Bill Was Negotiated Behind Closed Doors, Rammed Through The Senate With Limited Debate And Amendments, And Riddled With Special Deals To Garner Votes.’” “Republican Sen. Susan Collins said Brown’s victory ‘is an indication that voters in Massachusetts, indeed a majority of Americans, do not support unfettered, one-party rule in Washington.’ Brown’s election also reflects ‘the fact that so many people are appalled at the process by which the health care bill was negotiated behind closed doors, rammed through the Senate with limited debate and amendments, and riddled with special deals to garner votes,’ Collins said in a statement issued Tuesday evening.” [Bangor Daily News, 1/20/10]

  • Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME): “Collins Said Congress And The White House Should ‘Start From Scratch’” After Scott Brown’s Election. “Collins said Congress and the White House should ‘start from scratch’ and draft a new health care bill that would reduce health care costs and include provisions such as insurance market reforms, the ability to purchase insurance across state lines, and tax breaks for small businesses.” [Bangor Daily News, 1/20/10]

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX): “I Hope That This Will Usher In A New Era Of Transparency And Willingness To Work Together Rather Than Sort Of Special Sweetheart Deals Cut Behind Closed Doors.” “And so I hope that this will usher in a new era of transparency and willingness to work together rather than sort of special sweetheart deals cut behind closed doors that cause so much concern in the health care bill and elsewhere. And let me just say that the health care bill is a very important part of what was debated and decided yesterday in this election, but it’s not all that was decided. The American people sent a very clear message through the voters of Massachusetts of their concern about the spending and the debt and the government intervention in their lives in ways that limits their freedoms and opportunities in the future of their children and grandchildren.” [Press Conference, 1/20/10]

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN): We Should “Work Together, Step By Step, To Re-Earn The Trust Of The American People.” “Now that the people have spoken in Massachusetts, we should abandon these arrogant notions of trying to turn our entire health care system upside down all at once and, instead, set a clear goal of reducing health care costs and then work together, step by step, to re-earn the trust of the American people–an approach Republican Senators urged exactly 173 different times on the floor of the Senate during last year.” [Floor Remarks, 1/20/10]

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN): “With The Election Results In A State Like Massachusetts, I Hope My Colleagues On The Other Side Of The Aisle Will Be Convinced To Go Back To The Drawing Board.” “With the election results in a state like Massachusetts, I hope my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will be convinced to go back to the drawing board on the issue of health care reform.” [Press Release, 1/19/10]

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “This Is The Result Of A Bill Done Behind Closed Doors.” “‘This is the result of a bill done behind closed doors,’ Graham said, adding 111,000 South Carolina seniors have Advantage plans. ‘We cannot take away Medicare Advantage for 49 states and give it to one because you want his vote.’ Meanwhile, Graham said the Obama administration tried to push a bill through that isn’t bipartisan and that the Massachusetts race illustrates the nation’s desire to go back to the drawing board on reform. He issued a warning that any effort to pass a bill through the Senate will result in ‘holy hell.’ ‘It will be almost impossible for us to work together on other matters there are very important to the country,’ he said.” [Greenville News, 1/18/10]

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA): “I Think It Is Almost An Indication That There Ought To Be Some Pause And To Step Back And Review What’s Been Going On For The Last Year.” “‘I think it is almost an indication that there ought to be some pause and to step back and review what’s been going on for the last year,’ Grassley said during his weekly telephone news conference. ‘And then, after that pause, if there’s a decision to go ahead, obviously that decision’s going to be on a bipartisan basis.’” [Daily Nonpareil, 1/21/10]

Sen. John Thune (R-SD): “The Democrats’ Partisan, Back-Room Approach To Writing A Health Care Bill Has … Been Thoroughly Rejected, As Last Night’s Results Make Clear.” “The Democrats’ partisan, back-room approach to writing a health care bill has … been thoroughly rejected, as last night’s results make clear,” Thune said in a statement. “It is now time to start over on a bipartisan approach and find solutions to lowering costs and improving care.” [Capital Journal, 1/20/17]

…AND SENATE DEMOCRATS AGREED NOT TO TAKE ANY FURTHER ACTION UNTIL BROWN WAS SEATED

Then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV): “We’re Going To Wait Until The New Senator Arrives Until We Do Anything More On Health Care.” “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday that there is no firm commitment for Democrats to rush a health care bill through Congress this year. ‘First of all, we’re not going to rush into anything,’ he said. ‘We’re going to wait until the new senator arrives until we do anything more on health care.’” [Politico, 1/20/10]

Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA): “I Believe It Would Only Be Fair And Prudent That We Suspend Further Votes On Health Care Legislation Until Senator-Elect Brown Is Seated.” “In many ways the campaign in Massachusetts became a referendum not only on health care reform but also on the openness and integrity of our government process.  It is vital that we restore the respect of the American people in our system of government and in our leaders.   To that end, I believe it would only be fair and prudent that we suspend further votes on health care legislation until Senator-elect Brown is seated.” [Sen. Webb Statement, 1/19/10]

Protect Our Care: Alabama Election Changed Political Landscape, Republicans Must Delay Vote on GOP Tax Plan Until Doug Jones is Sworn In

Washington, DC – Following the historic victory of Doug Jones in the Alabama special election for U.S. Senate, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“Doug Jones’s victory in the Alabama Senate race is a political earthquake, and before Republicans make matters even worse for themselves by voting on a tax scam that rips away health care from millions of Americans, they must allow Doug Jones to be sworn in and force every Republican Senator to decide if they want to be the deciding vote on a bill that devastates American health care to give tax breaks to billionaires and big corporations.”

Who’s Against the GOP Health Care Repeal Tax Scam? Everyone, Basically

The GOP tax scam doubles as a sneaky repeal of the Affordable Care Act — it kicks 13 million people off of their insurance, raises premiums by double digits for millions more and triggers a $25 billion cut to Medicare, all to pay for tax breaks for the wealthiest and corporations. The leading experts — patient groups, insurers, doctors, actuaries and hospitals — all oppose the passage of this legislation. More than 2,400 faith leaders oppose it. And the American people overwhelmingly reject it. Why won’t the GOP listen to anyone?

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, And 16 More Leading Patient Groups: People With “Serious Health Care Needs” And With Pre-Existing Conditions “May Not Be Able To Afford Coverage.” “Many individuals with serious health care needs, including patients with chronic or major health conditions, who by definition, have a pre-existing condition, may not be able to afford coverage.” [The Hill, 11/28/17]

America’s Health Insurance Plans, American Academy Of Family Physicians, American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Federation Of American Hospitals: Leading Industry Groups Warn Of “Serious Consequences” Should The Mandate Be Repealed. “As providers of healthcare and coverage to hundreds of millions of Americans, we are committed to assuring everyone has access to a range of high quality, affordable coverage options so they can access the care they need, regardless of pre-existing conditions. To achieve this critical goal, we are urging you to maintain the individual mandate unless and until Congress can enact a package of reforms to adequately assure a balanced risk pool and prevent extraordinary premium increases.” [Letter, 11/14/17]

American Academy of Actuaries: “Premiums Would Increase, Reducing Affordability And Eroding Pre-Existing Condition Protections.” The individual mandate is an integral component of the ACA. It helps support the law’s pre-existing condition protections — the provisions that prohibit insurers from denying coverage or charging higher premiums based on health status. The mandate helps encourage the young and healthy, as well as the old and sick, to obtain coverage, thus achieving the balanced risk pool required to keep premiums affordable and stable. In practice, its financial penalty is usually low as a share of premiums, many individuals are exempt, and enforcement is weak. Nevertheless, the mandate, especially in conjunction with the premium and cost-sharing subsidies, likely increases enrollment above what it would otherwise be. Eliminating the mandate without implementing an alternative means to drive enrollment among healthy individuals would likely result in a deterioration of the risk pool due to lower coverage rates among lower-cost individuals who could defer purchasing insurance until a health need arose. Premiums would increase as a result, reducing affordability and eroding pre-existing condition protections. [Letter, 12/12/17]

More Than 2,400 Faith Leaders: “That The Number Of Uninsured Individuals Would Increase By 13 Million By 2025…Violates Our Faith Teaching.” “The individual mandate is critical to keeping individual market coverage affordable and keeping the individual market stable. By repealing the individual mandate, legislation will cause catastrophic losses in health coverage. The CBO estimates that the number of uninsured individuals would increase by 13 million by 2025, which violates our faith teaching.” [Letter, 11/29/17]

The American People: “Just 32% Support The GOP Tax Plan…The Lowest Level Of Public Support For Any Major Piece Of Legislation Enacted In The Past Three Decades.  A new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll finds just 32% support the GOP tax plan; 48% oppose it. That’s the lowest level of public support for any major piece of legislation enacted in the past three decades, including the Affordable Care Act in 2009. [USA Today, 12/10/17]

Sleigh Bells Ring, Are You Listening? Mainers, Health Care Advocates and Major Media Organizations Attempt to Reach Sen. Susan Collins

Ten days ago, Sen. Susan Collins voted in favor of the GOP tax scam to kick 13 million people off of their health insurance, raise premiums double digits for millions more and trigger a $25 billion cut to Medicare, all to pay for a tax cut for the wealthiest and big corporations. She argued it wasn’t a bad bill and claimed she had promises from GOP leaders to move alternative bills forward. In the days since, it’s been made abundantly clear neither of these things is true.

How is her vote playing out in Maine?

Maine Beacon: “Hundreds brave winter storm to tell Sen. Collins: ‘You are wrong’ on tax bill.” “Despite freezing temperatures and the season’s first significant snowfall, an estimated 250 people from across New England turned out Saturday to demand that Senator Susan Collins finally listen to the will of the voters and reject the Republican tax overhaul. The line of protesters marched across Memorial Bridge, which connects Portsmouth, New Hampshire to Kittery, Maine, behind a banner which read: ‘Sen. Susan Collins, You Are Wrong.’”

Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel: “Our View: Collins should drop support for tax bill.” “When she gets another chance, Collins should vote against the bill that’s now being negotiated in a House-Senate conference committee and stop this process before it’s too late. There is no shortage of reasons for her to withdraw her support.”

Alex Luck, Bangor Daily News: “Susan Collins support of the Senate tax bill is a betrayal of Maine’s veterans.” “As a veteran, it pains me to see just how badly the Republican tax bill that the Senate just passed will hurt my fellow veterans. What’s worse, I’m heartbroken to see Collins vote for this bill that punishes veterans and threatens millions of families’ health and well-being by dismantling a key part of the Affordable Care Act. I’d expect such cruelty from the far-right fringe. I’m shocked to see Collins go along with it.”

How about nationally?

Washington Post Editorial Board“Susan Collins is getting it wrong.” “If the reinsurance plan were larger and perpetual, Ms. Collins would have a better argument. If Republicans had spent months examining the effectiveness of the mandate, waited for a new assessment from the Congressional Budget Office and drafted a stand-alone bill that included replacement policies, they would have more credibility in making such a large and risky change in the Obamacare system. But this is not what happened.”

New York Times: “Susan Collins and the Duping of the Centrists.” “A couple of weeks ago, Collins made a classic Collins deal. It tried to split the difference between Democratic and Republican positions. But it sure looks like a bum deal now… Her strategic error is the one that holds lessons for other would-be centrists. Namely, she defined the political center in relative terms rather than substantive terms. Republican leaders — not just Trump, but McConnell and Ryan too — have moved sharply to the right. They are rushing through a bill without the normal procedures. They are making verifiably false claims about it. And they have decided that taking health insurance away from Americans is a core Republican principle. Collins made the mistake of chasing after an impossible deal. She wanted to position herself between the two political parties, and she wanted to protect Medicare and Medicaid. When it proved impossible to do both, she claimed otherwise — and put a higher priority on politics than policy. In Trump’s Washington, other centrist Republicans are going to face a version of her dilemma, again and again. They are going to have decide which matters more to them: being a loyal Republican or being an actual centrist.”

What about her assertions that these other bills will mitigate the damage of the tax scam?

National Public Radio: “Doubts Rise About Sen. Collins’ Strategy To Shore Up Insurance Market.” “Sen. Susan Collins, the Maine Republican whose vote was pivotal in pushing the GOP tax bill forward last week, thought she had a deal to bolster health care protections in exchange for her support. But it’s now unclear whether her strategy to shore up part of the Affordable Care Act will prevail or that it would produce the results she anticipates… Would Collins’ changes offset the elimination of the mandate? Some analysts question whether the bill restoring the federal cost-sharing subsidy payments could actually do more harm than good. ‘It’s a mess,’ says insurance industry consultant Robert Laszewski.”

Bloomberg: “These Senators Could Doom Tax Cuts (But Won’t).” “Collins says she has commitments from party leaders that the Medicare cuts never would be enacted, along with support for separate legislation that would address problems like insurance-premium increases caused by the mandate repeal… There are several problems with these reassurances. Nobody can promise now that a future Congress won’t cut Medicare. Nor is there any guarantee that the House of Representatives would go along with the separate measures to help the insurance market.”

Washington Post: “Susan Collins is enabling a bad tax bill.” “Collins’s support for the two measures, she would argue, mitigates some of the damage from repeal of the individual mandate. However, ‘some’ is not ‘all,’ and she has not attempted any fix beyond 2020. Andy Slavitt, former acting head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, tells me, ‘Even the study Senator Collins cited shows that the policies she’s proposing would undo only a small fraction of the coverage losses from mandate repeal and would have only temporary benefits. On the small chance that Paul Ryan decides to keep in Senator Collins’s amendments, this deal would not accomplish what she had hoped it would.’ And that brings us back to the original issue: Why allow Senate Republicans to wreck the individual exchanges under the guise of tax reform?

Are the promises not to cut Medicare at least holding up?

Paul Ryan: “Perfectly Appropriate” to Look at Cuts.

Mark Walker: “Secured a Commitment” to Vote on These Cuts.

Senator Collins, it’s never been more clear: Mainers are furious over your vote, health care advocates are adamant about the problems it will bring, and the GOP’s lies are getting harder to cover by the hour. Do the right thing — oppose the GOP tax scam.

“She Got Rolled”: A Brief Summary of the Susan Collins-GOP Leadership Deal

Last week, Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) said her support for the GOP tax scam, which contains a sneaky repeal of the Affordable Care Act that kicks 13 million people off of their insurance, raises premiums double digits for millions more and guts Medicare by $25 billion, was due to a promise she was given by Republican leaders ensuring two health care stabilizations bills would be signed into law. While experts had made clear these stabilization bills wouldn’t offset the deleterious effects of repeal, in the following days it became clear the GOP has no intentions of moving these bills. In the past 24 hours, as the truth has begun to trickle out, the larger picture has begun to be revealed.

What happened?

Politico: “Speaker Paul Ryan has made clear he’s not bound by the deal.”“Collins went along with the tax bill that repeals Obamacare’s individual mandate after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pledged to pass a pair of bills propping up Obamacare’s shaky insurance markets, including a bipartisan deal resuming payments on key subsidies that President Donald Trump halted in October. But Speaker Paul Ryan has made clear he’s not bound by the deal, and there’s little urgency among House Republicans to do much of anything on health care before the end of the year. On Thursday, Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker said conservatives received assurances that talks on a spending package to keep the government open won’t address Obamacare. ‘The three things we were told are not gonna happen as part of our agreement: no CSRs, no DACA, no debt limit,’ he said, referring to efforts to fund Obamacare’s cost-sharing subsidies.That could cost Collins’ support after she signaled that her vote on the final bill may hinge on the fate of the health care measures.”

How are things going in Maine?

Boston Globe: “Maine’s Susan Collins was a health care hero, but now advocates are branding her a villain.” “Susan Collins received a hero’s welcome in Maine this summer after she stymied efforts by her fellow Senate Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Crowds applauded her at the airport. Activists brought her flowers and thank-you cards. Less than six months later, protesters returned to the Bangor airport, hoping to greet her with signs declaring ‘Shame.’ Collins didn’t show up… What dismayed health care advocates is part of the tax-cut legislation that wipes out a fundamental element of the federal health care law: the ‘individual mandate,’ which requires that all Americans either purchase insurance or pay a tax penalty. ‘We’re disappointed. Everyone’s disappointed,’ said Marie Follayttar Smith, a cofounder of Mainers for Accountable Leadership, a liberal grass-roots group that has organized several protests in the past week aimed at pressuring Collins to change her position on the tax bill.”

Portland Press-Herald: “Religious leaders arrested at Sen. Collins’ Portland office after sit-in to protest her vote on tax bill.” “A group of nine religious leaders protesting Sen. Susan Collins’ support of the tax reform effort were arrested by Portland police officers shortly after 8 p.m. Thursday. Police waited inside Collins’ office at One Canal Plaza, Suite 802, while the group prayed and streamed their protest live on Facebook. Officers explained that they would handcuff the protesters and take them out in groups of about five in order to fit in an elevator. Group members sang, ‘We are gentle, loving people, and we are singing for our lives,’ as they were led away.”

What are people saying about the deal she cut?

Boston Globe: “She made a political error that’s going to cost Mainers.”“Her critics say Collins got played by accepting those promises. Conservatives in the House are openly balking at voting for the two bipartisan health care bills Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell pledged would be adopted by the full Congress by the end of the year. News reports this week revealed that House Speaker Paul Ryan told congressional staff after the Senate vote that he was not a party to McConnell’s promise to pass the provisions that Collins demanded. ‘She made a political error that’s going to cost Mainers and cost people across the country basic lifelines while [helping] the wealthy,’ said Smith, the Maine activist.”

Bloomberg: “She got rolled.” “Her critics wonder what she’s thinking. ‘She got rolled,’ said Jim Manley, a Democratic lobbyist who worked for former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. ‘Despite the fact that she’s a veteran legislator, as far as I’m concerned she got rolled here. The promises she extracted from the Senate leadership aren’t worth the piece of paper they’re written on. The House is continuing to raise questions about why they’re bound by a deal in the Senate.’”

Huffington Post“Collins is already being asked to accept more things on faith than she was supposed to.” “But no matter the ultimate conclusion, Collins is already being asked to accept more things on faith than she was supposed to. Earlier in the week, the House Freedom Caucus nearly derailed a vote to begin merging the separate versions of the tax legislation until leaders agreed to ‘decouple’ the tax bill from the other spending bills, with Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) telling reporters that the final tax bill would now likely come next week, days before Senators vote again on a spending bill. If that’s the case, Collins will once again be asked to vote for legislation she believes is harmful to Americans with the promise that Congress will mitigate their actions in the future.”

What is Sen. Collins herself saying?

WABI: “Senator Collins Responds to GOP Tax Bill Protesters, May Change Vote.” “Senator Susan Collins weighed in on the contentious tax bill debate from Washington DC. Collins believes the amendments she added in the Senate version on property tax and medical expense deduction for retirement funding improved the bill and that in time, it will lower the debt. But she told TV5 Thursday if those changes are not included in the final package, she will consider changing her vote.”

Sen. Collins — it’s clear: the GOP leadership doesn’t care about you, doesn’t care about honoring any promise they made and doesn’t care about health of this country. It’s time for you to oppose this tax scam.