Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) may have earned the ire of her fellow Republicans and of President Donald Trump himself, but a crowd at the airport treated her like a hero when she landed in Bangor, Maine on Friday.
Collins was one of only three Republican Senators to vote against the “skinny” repeal of Obamacare last week. The Maine senator had openly defied her party, rejecting their premise that the Affordable Care Act, more popularly known as Obamacare, cannot be reformed. Collins has voted “no” on all three of the Republicans’ efforts to dismantle Obamacare.
In an interview with Jake Tapper on State of the Union on Sunday, Sen. Collins talked about her experience at the airport, calling it “extraordinary, heartwarming, and affirming.”
“I have never had that happen in 20 years that I have been privileged to serve in the Senate. So it was very encouraging and affirming, especially arriving back home after a very difficult time.”
“I got off the plane, and there was a large group of outbound passengers, none of whom I happened to know, and spontaneously some of them started applauding, and then virtually all of them started to applaud,” she recounted.
“It was just amazing.”
On Friday, the senator released a statement explaining her vote on the “skinny” repeal and encouraging a bipartisan approach to the health care bill.
“While I support many of the components of this plan, this approach will not provide the market stability and premium relief that is needed.”
According to Collins, she voted against the Obamacare repeal bills because the Republican plan included a “misguided” proposal that would block federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood and because it would result in fewer Americans getting access to coverage.
The senator from Maine encouraged her colleagues to reconsider their approach to Obamacare, urging them to work together to address the “very serious” problems of the “flawed” ACA.
“Neither party has a monopoly on good ideas, and we must work together to put together a bipartisan bill that fixes the flaws in the ACA and works for all Americans.”
Apart from Sen. Susan Collins, only Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has consistently voted against the GOP’s attempts to repeal Obamacare. On Friday, Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) joined Collins and Murkowski in voting against the “skinny” repeal, derailing the Republican-driven health care bill. Just days earlier, McCain, who had been recovering from surgery, returned to the Senate to cast his vote in favor of advancing the GOP’s plans to repeal and replace Obamacare. His remarkable turnaround, which occurred in the wee hours of Friday morning, was a crushing blow to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s goal of reforming the US healthcare system.
Speaking with Tapper on Sunday, Sen. Collins stressed that she will continue to fight for a better healthcare plan and that she is undeterred by President Trump’s threats to cut off health insurance coverage for Congress and to end federal payments to insurance companies.
[Featured Image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]