American Health Care Act

Maine health care advocates say the Senate health care bill released Thursday would be disastrous for Maine. They say it would limit access, increase costs and make deep cuts to Medicaid — a program that, among other things, pays the bulk of Maine’s nursing home resident’s bills.

It’s called the Better Care Reconciliation Act, but Steve Butterfield of Consumers for Affordable Health Care says he can’t figure out who gets better care under this proposal.

A report from the Commonwealth Fund and George Washington University finds that the GOP House proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act could cause a loss of 10-thousand jobs in Maine over the next decade, and gross state product could decline by a billion dollars.

Abukar Adan / Maine Public

Protesters rallied in Portland Thursday to press Maine’s U.S. senators to reject the GOP health care bill endorsed in the House, known as American Health Care Act, and the Trump administration's proposed Medicaid cuts. The rally coincided with the Senate’s May recess. 

Organizers collected handwritten messages in empty medicine bottles that they say they plan to deliver to Republican Sen. Susan Collins.  Andrew Francis of the Maine People's Alliance, one of the organizers of the rally, said the focus is on Collins because she hasn't always lived up to her moderate label.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

The implications of the Republican-backed American Health Care Act drew more than 50 people Tuesday night to an forum at the Bangor Public Library.  

The event was sponsored by the group "Organizing for Action."  Many who attended said they wonder whether health care services will be available to them or their aging parents.

Phil Bailey, of Hancock, says the bill has prompted a lot of questions over his mother's future care. "My mother is 100 years old, lives in assisted living, is on Medicaid - can she be forced out into the street?"

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 23 million more Americans will lose health coverage under the House GOP's health care replacement bill. 

Maine health advocates say the CBO score shows that the American Health Care Act will make U.S. health care worse, not better.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 23 million more people will lose insurance under the GOP House bill to replace the Affordable Care Act.  That's slightly less than the 24 million expected to lose insurance under earlier versions of the replacement bill. 

Patty Wight / Maine Public

A day after House Republicans passed their health care overhaul bill, the spotlight is now on the U.S. Senate. Advocacy groups for Maine physicians, hospitals and consumers say the American Health Care Act would have disastrous consequences for patients and are looking to the Senate to fix it.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine’s 1st District, who opposed the bill, says advocacy groups aren’t the only ones looking to the Senate to improve the AHCA. She says some House Republicans are as well.

Health care advocates and Democratic politicians held a State House news conference shortly after U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin of Maine’s 2nd District voted for the Obamacare replacement legislation put forward by House Republican leaders.

Speakers like Kay Wilkins of Ellsworth were sharply critical of Poliquin, who was accused of turning his back on constituents and voting to make health care coverage less available and more expensive than under the Affordable Care act.

“I am so disappointed in what Rep. Poliquin has done, which truly hurts Mainers,” she said.

Mal Leary / Maine Public

House Republicans Thursday passed a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. An earlier version of the bill had failed to garner enough votes, but the addition of two new amendments drew enough support for passage.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's two members of the U.S. House are expected to vote today on a controversial bill to repeal key elements of the Affordable Care Act and replace them with provisions that could have wide ranging impacts on Mainers. 

Debate is underway for the American Health Care Act, also dubbed Trumpcare and Ryancare. The proposal is designed to fulfill a seven-year promise by Republicans to unravel President Obama's signature legislative achievement.