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Collins: Health Bill ‘Still Too Deeply Flawed’

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Tuesday said she does not believe that the Senate Democratic health care reform bill will garner her vote, despite significant changes that are likely to be made to rid the bill of a public insurance option and an expansion of Medicare.

Democrats have regarded Collins, along with fellow moderate Maine Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe, as potentially persuadable on the bill.

In comments that aired on MSNBC, Collins said her friend Sen. Joe Lieberman’s (ID-Conn.) achievements in ridding the bill of liberal priorities are not sufficient to assuage her concerns.

“I don’t see voting for the current bill that is on the floor even with the improvements that have been made,” she told reporters. “It is still too deeply flawed for me to support it.”

Collins said that, among other things, she is “leery” of the more than $400 billion in cuts to Medicare in the package.

Collins said she has spoken to the president, his chief of staff and the director of the Office of Management and Budget in recent days but that they have “not moved me.”

Senate Democratic leaders need 60 votes to overcome a GOP-led filibuster of the bill, meaning they will either have to convince all 60 Members of the Democratic Conference to vote in lock step or they will need a few GOP votes. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said he wants to pass a bill by Christmas.

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