When it comes to hurting hardworking Mainers, few people understand “the art of the deal” better than U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin.

When Collins and Poliquin voted “yes” on the Republican tax bill last year, they didn’t just explode the U.S. deficit and throw billions of dollars at the wealthy while tossing a few crumbs to working families. They also set the stage to strip all of us of our insurance coverage for pre-existing health conditions. How? The Republican tax law repealed Obamacare’s individual mandate. Now, President Trump and Collins-backed Attorney General Jeff Sessions are using that repeal to eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions – a wildly popular part of Obamacare.

Because of Collins and Poliquin, insurance companies will be legally allowed to deny coverage to anyone with cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, arthritis – the list of pre-existing conditions goes on and on.

Trump will also kill the Obamacare provision that makes it illegal for insurance companies to charge outrageous premiums to older patients. Remember that the next time Collins and Poliquin tout their elderly-friendly credentials.

Never mind that Trump repeatedly swore he would never eliminate these protections. Those promises were so 2016 and 2017.

What a way to make America great again!

Bottom line: If you need medical treatment for cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, etc. and think health insurance will help you with those bills – think again. If you are somehow fortunate enough to get insurance coverage, expect premiums and limits that could easily bankrupt you.

(Those few extra dollars from the Republican tax law don’t seem so great right now, do they?)

Many good, hardworking people – including Republicans and Trump voters – will lose all they have when pre-existing condition protections are repealed. Maybe even their lives. You can thank Susan Collins and Bruce Poliquin for that.

Mark Klimek

South Portland