Trump Didn't Scare Susan Collins Into Changing Her Mind On Health Care

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Early Friday morning, the Senate voted on the skinny repeal of Obamacare or the Health Care Freedom Act, as it was officially called. Both the initial Senate repeal and replace bill and the full repeal were thwarted by rebellious GOP senators who defied their own party. Among the most notable "no" votes was Susan Collins of Maine, who was openly against both plans from early on in the debate. So did Susan Collins vote for the skinny repeal? The Republican senator stood against the amended health care bill.

A Collins vote in favor of the skinny repeal would have been a surprise, as the senator from Maine already opposed even opening up the measure for debate on Tuesday. Joining her in opposition was Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, but these two Republican senators alone could not have sunk the skinny repeal. The third, decisive "no" vote, the one that was most in question and that was most surprising in the end, came from Arizona Sen. John McCain.

While Sen. Murkowski had received threats from the White House regarding her expected vote, Sen. Collins said that she had not received the same treatment. Trump did tweet about the outcome of vote, saying that "3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down."

Together, Collins and Murkowski have been consistent thorns in Trump's side as he has worked to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Among Sen. Collins' biggest concerns with the various iterations of the Republican repeal and replace plans were the cuts to Medicare, which she said would "jeopardize the very existence of our rural hospitals and our nursing homes" and remove an important safety net for some of the country's most vulnerable citizens. When Senate Republicans were trying to move forward with a repeal of the bill without a replacement in place, Sen. Collins issued a statement saying that she would vote against it, and that "repealing without a replacement would create great uncertainty for individuals who rely on the ACA and cause further turmoil in the insurance markets."

Her vote against the skinny repeal, then, doesn't come as a shock, despite President Trump's strongly worded statements about senators opposing the Republican plans. She's made her beliefs on the subject abundantly clear, and her most recent "no" vote proves that she's comfortable standing by them, no matter what the Republican president might have to say. Sen. Collins has now played an important role in protecting the Americans whose access to health care would have been in jeopardy had the skinny repeal passed.