Rep. Poliquin not likely to face political payback for health vote if bill changes, experts say
Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s vote to help the American Health Care Act narrowly pass in the House Thursday is likely to have galvanized his opponents, but not eroded much support among voters who twice have elected the Republican to office from Maine’s 2nd Congressional District.
That’s the assessment by political observers who also caution that bill is unlikely to pass the Senate in its current form and the ramifications of Poliquin’s support for the bill will depend largely on the legislation’s final fate.
“If what has been said about the legislation is true, that this is going to benefit younger, healthier, wealthier Americans, and that older, sicker, poorer Americans are going to do worse under Obamacare, then I can’t imagine that works out well for the 2nd Congressional District in Maine,” said Mark Brewer, political science professor at the University of Maine in Orono. “If this disadvantages older, sicker, poorer people, that describes a big chunk of the 2nd District.”
Poliquin long has said he opposed the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature 2010 legislation, but he dodged reporters’ questions about his position on the House Republican’s replacement plan and didn’t announce his support for the bill until a telephone interview a half-hour before Thursday’s vote. During the call, Poliquin sought to minimize the bill’s effect in his home state, incorrectly saying that it would affect only 7 percent of Mainers.