Sen. Susan Collins of Maine joined Democrats on Wednesday in supporting a resolution to halt the Trump administration’s expansion of short-term health plans, but no Republican colleagues joined her and the effort failed.

The vote ended in a 50-50 tie, falling one vote shy of the majority needed. Sen Angus King of Maine, an independent who was a co-sponsor, also voted for the resolution. Even if it passed in the Senate, the measure was almost certain to fail in the Republican-controlled House.

Regulations put forth this summer by the Trump administration now allow insurers to sell health plans outside the Affordable Care Act markets for up to a year, instead of the previous limit of three months. The plans, which cost as little as $30 to $50 a month, are seen as a low-cost option for those who can’t get insurance through their employer. However, Democrats and some health experts have expressed concerns that these plans are “junk plans” that only serve to undermine the signature policy achievement of President Barack Obama’s time in office.

Collins, in a statement, said the short-term plans do not provide enough protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

“As I have often emphasized, it is essential that individuals who suffer from pre-existing conditions are covered,” she said. “At the same time, we cannot ignore the fact that many individuals lack an affordable health insurance option. The underlying flaw in the Affordable Care Act is that it does not provide affordable coverage. But I believe this flaw can be addressed without jeopardizing protections for individuals with preexisting conditions.”

Collins said she was disappointed that lawmakers couldn’t find compromise.


“I am disappointed that we again find ourselves in an ‘all or nothing, take it or leave it’ situation,” Collins said. “I can only hope that some of the energy now stoking partisan animosity will be redirected soon toward finding health care solutions that work for all Americans.”

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, the Wisconsin Democrat who drafted the resolution, said that her biggest concern also was pre-existing conditions.

“We can’t go back to the days when insurance companies wrote the rules, just as we cannot allow the Trump administration to rewrite the rules on guaranteed health care protections,” Baldwin said, according to Politico.

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who joined Collins and the late Sen. John McCain last year in voting against the repeal of the ACA, did not support the resolution.

Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:

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Twitter: PPHEricRussell

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