Pressure on Maine Politicians Ahead of Healthcare Vote

House Republicans are carefully counting their votes, approaching a critical health care debate. But one Congressman from Maine hasn’t said how he’ll vote on the American Health Care Act, the House GOP proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s spokesperson issued a statement Thursday, explaining that Poliquin is “continuing to carefully study and push for changes in this health care relief proposal.” 

Thursday afternoon, House leadership announced it would be delaying the vote on the AHCA, allowing more time to apply pressure to undecided lawmakers.

As Poliquin decides, constituents are speaking out. A group gathered outside his office in Lewiston Thursday morning, rallying for their Congressman to oppose changes to the Affordable Care Act. 

“He’s thinking about his party, and about his re-election,” said protester Lisa Wesel. “I don’t know that he’s thinking about the people who live here, who would suffer a lot if he votes in favor of this.” 

Republican Senator Susan Collins has already announced her opposition to the bill, but women’s group UltraViolet wants her to do more to ensure funding for Planned Parenthood. They delivered an ice sculpture to her Portland office, asking her not to leave Planned Parenthood “out in the cold.” 

The other two members of Maine’s Congressional delegation have come out against the House healthcare bill, and Thursday afternoon, Maine Governor Paul LePage wrote a letter asking lawmakers to reverse their positions, and support the GOP proposal. 

Maine GOP Executive Director Jason Savage called the AHCA a first step in addressing a “collapsing” Obamacare. 

In a statement, Rep. Poliquin said he is concerned about “any potential impact on those nearing retirement who are not yet on Medicare,” adding that he was encouraged by provisions to retain coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and let young adults stay on their parents’ policies. 

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