Collins Gets An Earful On Health Care At Parade: ‘There Was Only One Issue’

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, heads to a caucus meeting with the leadership struggling with senators, like Collins, who are opposed or wavering on the Republican health care bill, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 27, 2017. In a bruising setback, Senate Republican leaders decided to delay a vote on their prized health care bill until after the July 4 recess, forced to retreat by a GOP rebellion that left them lacking enough votes to even begin debating the legislation. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said Tuesday that she was surprised at how prominent Republicans’ Obamacare repeal efforts were in voters’ minds.

“There was only one issue. That’s unusual. It’s usually a wide range of issues,” she told the Washington Post after a July 4th parade in Eastport, Maine. “I heard, over and over again, encouragement for my stand against the current version of the Senate and House health care bills. People were thanking me, over and over again. ‘Thank you, Susan!’ ‘Stay strong, Susan!’”

Collins was one of several key senators to oppose a vote on Republicans’ bill to repeal Obamacare and make deep long-term cuts to Medicaid. A group of Republican senators wrote the bill in secret for weeks and released a draft text of it on June 22, hoping for a vote as early as June 29.

The senator added Tuesday that so-called health savings accounts, tax-incentivized accounts from which consumers pay for medical services, “can work,” with enough federal funding.

“If you have a Health Savings Account that is federally funded, that equals the deductible, that can work, but it has to be designed right,” she said. “I don’t want to see insurance that’s not really insurance.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

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