Sen. Susan Collins could not have picked a better moment to announce her decision to forgo a race for governor and continue serving in the United States Senate.
Just as she was walking the members of the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce in Rockport through her analysis of the problems in our health care system, President Trump was in Washington trying to make that system fail.
The contrast was stark. Collins was talking about ways to make the system better while Trump was looking for leverage, no matter who gets hurt along the way. It should be obvious to everyone why Maine and the nation need an independent-minded Republican like Collins in Washington to block the administration’s dangerous excesses and, when possible, forge pragmatic deals that keep the country moving forward.
Trump’s moves on health care last week expose his approach to policy-making and a shocking disregard for the millions of people who stand to lose health coverage because of his desire to put pressure on his opponents.
In an executive order signed Thursday, Trump opened the door to insurance companies to sell low-cost plans across state lines. While that might sound good, it’s not. The premiums are less expensive because the plans don’t cover much. A young, healthy person who doesn’t expect to get sick or injured might be willing to take the risk, but these are exactly the people needed in the insurance pool to spread costs. If the only people who buy state-regulated health insurance are the ones who are most likely to make a claim, the premiums will go sky high, and many people will be forced to drop coverage. And to make sure that happens sooner, rather than later, Trump announced with a tweet that he would unilaterally end subsidies that help insurance companies cover out-of-pocket costs for lower-income plan members. That will also drive premiums up, and force people to drop coverage.
Creating chaos in the health insurance markets might deliver some short-term political advantage for Trump, but it won’t get more people covered by decent comprehensive health insurance.
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