Letter to the Editor: Health care promises upended

On Nov. 22, 2017, ten members of Indivisible MDI met with Sen. Susan Collins in her Bangor office to discuss her planned vote on the upcoming tax bill. We hoped to convince Sen. Collins that Mainers would best be served by a “no” vote. Much of our conversation centered around the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate and how such a repeal could ultimately have a disastrous impact on protections Maine people like us depend upon.

Although her original position on the tax bill was to withhold her vote unless measures to stabilize insurance markets were passed into law first, she was now insistent that a promise from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Trump that those things would happen later was enough to win her support.

Although she had not yet made an official announcement, we left the meeting knowing that Sen. Collins would be a “yes” vote on the tax bill.

On the afternoon of Dec. 19, national media reports confirmed what we already knew — House Republicans were already saying they would never pass legislation to fulfill the promises made to Sen. Collins. Nevertheless, she voted “yes” later that evening.

Fast forward to June 13, 2018 and a meeting of four members of Indivisible MDI with Sen. Collins in her Washington, D.C. Office.

Our “ask” of Sen. Collins was simple: would she work with Sen. King to craft and pass legislation that would protect people with preexisting conditions and fulfill the promises made to her by Mitch McConnell to stabilize the insurance markets? Her answer was simple but nonetheless shocking: Mitch McConnell honored his promises to her. It was the fault of Patty Murray and the Democrats that the promises were not fulfilled.

So now a Federal Court judge has ruled that the entire Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional because the tax bill Sen. Collins voted for eliminated the individual mandate. And Sen. Collins is saying that the ruling doesn’t really matter — she “believes” it will be overturned. Sen. Collins also “believed” Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump last December. When can we start believing Sen. Collins?

Gail Leiser

Bar Harbor

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