The health plan pushed by President Donald Trump and the House Republican leadership would “hammer Maine and my people,” the state’s independent senator said.

“I can’t stand for that,” U.S. Sen. Angus King said Wednesday on the Senate floor.

He said experts who have dug into the details estimate that Mainers who rely on the Affordable Care Act for their insurance will wind up paying far more if the GOP measure is adopted.

His Republican counterpart from Maine, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, is still reviewing the proposal but called it “a good faith effort” that would maintain some important elements of Obamacare. It also has provisions she’s not keen about.

King said, though, there isn’t much question that the Trump-backed plan is the wrong approach. In one of the longer sentences uttered in the Senate, King said, “I hope that the House will have a more vigorous process, that they’ll understand what the implications are, and take a more vigorous approach so that we’re not tearing insurance out from under people, we’re not going to make the costs be driven up, we’re not giving a tax break to people that make over $250,000 a year, and, at the same time, taking coverage away from people who make $30,000 a year. That’s wrong,” he added.

King cited estimates from Kaiser Family Foundation, that determined the House plan would cause a 60-year-old in Aroostook County with a yearly income of $30,000 to lose about 70 percent of his federal assistance for insurance. He said Kaiser anticipates federal support would fall by almost half for the rest of the state, hiking health care costs for many.

“The pattern is shift and shaft: shift the cost and shaft the people who need coverage,” King said. He said the country “should be repairing, not repealing – and I think this bill is not the right place to start.

“I stand for the people of Maine,” he said. “I stand for the people who are going to be harmed by this – whether they are seniors or working people or self-employed people who have been able to start businesses because they could get, for the first time, insurance under the Affordable Care Act. I believe that’s our obligation here.”

King has expressed worry that dumping the ACA will smack rural hospitals that would face more uninsured patients and potentially catastrophic financial ramifications as a result. He said some might close, tossing people out of work and leaving communities without easy access to vital health care.

Sen. Angus King

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