Dec 16, 2018, 12:21 PM ET

Sen. Susan Collins: Obamacare court decision 'far too sweeping,' health care law 'should be maintained'

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Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is speaking out against a federal judge’s ruling overturning the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

She told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” Sunday that she believes the judge’s ruling overturning the entire law goes too far and that the court should instead remove the individual mandate to buy health insurance while keeping the rest of the law intact.

PHOTO: Sen. Susan Collins arrives on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Oct. 4, 2018.Alex Brandon/AP, FILE
Sen. Susan Collins arrives on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Oct. 4, 2018.

“The judge’s ruling was far too sweeping. He could have taken a much more surgical approach and just cut down the individual mandate and keep the rest of the law intact,” Collins said.

Collins criticized the individual mandate for being a tax disproportionately on lower and middle income taxpayers, but expressed support for parts of the Affordable Care Act.

“There are many good provisions of the law. Those should be retained,” Collins added.

Collins was responding to the ruling issued Friday by a federal district court judge in Texas on a lawsuit brought by Republican attorneys general from 20 states challenging the constitutionality of the individual mandate.

Judge Reed O’Connor held that because last year’s tax reform bill set the individual mandate’s tax to zero, it no longer functioned as an instance of Congress’ constitutionally protected power to tax. In 2012, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts had cited that power in his decision to cast the deciding vote to uphold the law.

O’Connor concluded that striking down the individual mandate would necessitate throwing out the rest of the law. He did not, however, issue an injunction, meaning the law can continue to be applied as the appeal process continues. The case will likely head to the Supreme Court.

PHOTO: The Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C. is pictured on April 4, 2017.J. Scott Applewhite/AP, FILE
The Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C. is pictured on April 4, 2017.

Collins found a middle ground, suggesting that while other key provisions of the law should be retained, the individual mandate should still be cut from the existing law.

“This disproportionately affected lower and middle income families. In addition, not one Democratic senator offered an amendment to strike the repeal of the individual mandate, although they had the opportunity to do so. And that’s because it was probably the most unpopular and unfair provision of the Affordable Care Act,” Collins said.

The Maine Republican said that she did not regret her support for the tax reform bill that zeroed out the individual mandate penalty and led to the federal court’s decision but said that access to affordable health care still needs to be improved.

“It's something we should still pursue because affordability is a real problem for so many Americans who do not receive the subsidies under the Affordable Care Act because they make just a little more than 400 percent of the poverty rate,” Collins said.

News - Sen. Susan Collins: Obamacare court decision 'far too sweeping,' health care law 'should be maintained'

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  • Bob Marley

    Robotic, you're welcome.

  • Gravis

    That's right Susan. Except what have you done to improve our healthcare since becoming senator? All you've done is bang your gums, vote party line, and usher in a sexual predator to the supreme court. Thanks.

  • SJ Benny

    It's all good. President Trump said every American will have coverage. It will be better. It will be cheaper. It'll be easy to do. He said..."everyone will be beautifully covered".
    And there's one thing we all know about trump, he NEVER tells a lie.

  • harveyyaz

    Senator Collins, who voted to put a man accused of sexual predation onto the Supreme Court, has absolutely no credibility left. Like the rest of the GOP, she doesn't have a clue as to what would be better than Obamacare. She's an embarrassment.

  • hucky01

    She will flutter with which ever way the political wind blows. She will knuckle under at the drop of the hat.

  • jims444

    What in the world is it worth anything to have a great health care system if people cannot afford it or have access to it? This is the question I've been asking myself for years now every time I hear a Republican trash Canada or the UK or any other nation which has universal health care for everybody. We also have the highest prices in the world for medicines. This shows just how corrupt and greedy those in Congress really are and how little that they listen to us, the people. Fire them all and start over.

  • Bobo McStevens

    Buyer's remorse you ding dong?

  • Peter Carson

    I am an engineer, and numbers make sense to me and usually guide my decisions and opinions. What I see is that most countries with socialized medicine spend less, both in terms of percentage of GDP and in real cost, for healthcare that has at least as good of outcomes as the US healthcare system, and they do so while covering everyone. Most countries with socialized medicine spend approximately 11% of their GDP on healthcare, while the US spends approximately 17% of its significantly larger GDP on healthcare. In real dollars, the US spends approximately $10,300 per person while the EU spends approximately $5,500 per person. It seems to me that their system is more efficient.

  • SJC

    The GOP tried to destroy preexiting condition coverage then claimed they tried to protect it. The lies don't get much bigger and more obvious than that.

  • RettasVegas

    This woman voted for Kavanaugh (women are not done with him..).
    She knew he lied, the majority knew he lied, and she voted for him anyway.
    She is smeared with his legacy, she has no credibility with me as an Independent voter on anything she has an opinion on.
    She let girls, women down, she should be ashamed of herself, she's no better than the 'so called' christian evangelicals who put party over faith & country (blasphemous).
    Enough of the corruption, Dems get in there & start cleaning out all the sleaze, we the voter's will take them all the way out in 2020!
    #GodSpeedMueller!

  • Peter Carson

    So I guess all of the GOP pandering during the last election that they support coverage of preexisting conditions and that they will stabilize insurance markets is just hot air?

  • momonomo

    This is classic Collins trying to play both sides.

  • ohyes2011

    She's all talk no action. Time for her to be voted out.

  • Bofa Deez

    Socialized medicine is the first step on the path to communism.

  • Realpshep

    If there was a viable replacement then ok but it’s been a decade and no new plans. We just had a person rob convenient stores (last week) because of medical bills.

  • mikevietvet68/69

    the republican is as flakey as jeff flake,she is married to a lobbyist so that should give us some indication she only votes for the money givers to her campaign,i doubt it if boomer lifetime we will see all the grifters eliminated from the decision making in d.c.the con-man is first to go along with the kiddies,cohen i believe is the most hurtful to the king but collins wants to see the tape.

  • Thoughts n prayers

    Republicans have had near a decade to unveil this super awesome best healthcare for everyone plan and they have delivered nothing. Not a mf-ing for all their chin wagging about Obamacare.

  • Linzie Rogers

    From time to time I speak of our healthcare system compared to other countries of the world. Tell you what. How about a third world country I have visited five times? The country? Ghana. The system is called the nation health insurance scheme. (NHIS). You get outpatient services, diagnostic testing, most in patient services, specialists care, most surgeries, hospital accommodations, oral health treatment, all maternity care services including caesarean deliveries, emergency care,and all drugs on the National Health Authority (NHIA) list. Additionally the following are exempt from premium payment: All people over 70, children under 18 whose parents are enrolled, the core poor (homeless), and all pregnant women.
    The last I checked premiums ranged from about $5,00 to $16.00 monthly depending on income. Everyone must belong to the NHIS or show enrollment in private care. No exceptions for anyone except the military and police who have their own hospitals. Don't know why. Everyone gets an ID card. It's not up to western standards but if you're sick you get to have medical care. Now these people have this and we have what we have. What gives?

  • Dharam Sikka

    As it is the program is the best, the irritant to the present regime is in the name. Do not call it Obamacare and carry out necessary improvements, where needed.

  • Verity Pendelton

    This from the cowardly woman who voted in Kavanaugh. I plan on traveling personally to Maine when she is up for election and walking door to door for her opponent. She is a GOP party line girl.

  • Louis Wlosinski

    She and her associates should have been working on a replacement for the ACA a long time ago. Both Democrats and Republicans knew that the original ACA was doomed and their leaders should have been creating a better replacement.

  • Bill William

    Republicans want to kill the ACA. What is their plan for the 20 million people who have insurance through the ACA? There is no plan. Almost ten years have passed and nothing. How pathetic can the Republican Party be?

  • Smedley

    Typical Republican response. They voted to repeal Obamacare something like 67x when they knew they didn't have the votes, now a judge says it's unconstitutional and they're going "But..but…but.."

  • Bronx

    “It's something we should still pursue because affordability is a real problem for so many Americans who do not receive the subsidies under the Affordable Care Act because they make just a little more than 400 percent of the poverty rate,”

    So? An individual mandate along with an adequate tax on freeloaders, to prevent that, could enable the subsidies to go to a larger group--- either directly or through the insurers.

    Republicans as Collins have done everything they can to make the ACA fail. She is talking out of both sides
    of her mouth.

    The only other viable way forward is some variant on Medicare for all. Perhaps additionally in some instances
    allow broader access to VA, encourage and support local government owned hospitals and clinics.

  • Harry Allwardt

    Finally, an end to the abomination known as Obamacare. It was an insult to America, Americans, the world, and an affront to humanity. Heartless and expensive, it will soon be replaced by a Republican health care plan. Trumpcare, as it will be called, will be superior in every way.
    No co-pays.
    No monthly premiums.
    Chose any doctor.
    Free prescription drugs.
    No charge for hospital stays.
    In fact, everything is free.
    So, my fellow Americans, we will finally get the healthcare plan we want.

  • owthathurts

    Did anybody miss Paul Ryan's farewell address to Congress? Here's the full transcript:

    One score and six years ago Newt Gingrich brought forth in this nation a new party, conceived in avarice, and dedicated to the proposition that all wealth rightly belongs to a privileged few.

    Now we are engaged in a great political deception, testing whether that party, or any party so conceived and so dedicated, can get away with it. We are met on a great battle-field of the culture wars. I have come to dedicate a portion of the smoking ruins of Constitutional democracy as a final resting place for the reputations of those who gave their souls that the deception might live. It is altogether cynical and dishonest that I should do this.

    But, in a larger sense, I cannot dedicate -- I cannot consecrate – I cannot hallow this place. The obedient party hacks, past and present, who prevaricated here and were then rejected by the voters, have consecrated it, far above my poor power to embellish. Fox News will little note, and has already forgotten, what I say here, but it can never forget to revise and distort what they did here. It is for me, the retiring, rather, to be relieved of responsibility for the work which they who conspired here have thus far so ignobly advanced. It is rather for me to be here dedicated to the highly remunerative task remaining before me – that from those poor schmucks I take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of their reputations – that I here highly resolve that those schlubs shall not have been relegated to the dust bin of history in vain – that Fox Nation shall have a new birth of credulity – and that government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich, shall not perish from the earth.

  • owthathurts

    Remember all of those Republican politicians who spent the 2018 campaign telling the voters that they don't want to take away your access to healthcare? They were lying.

  • Sam

    I think the Judge is right in his judgement..1. This could be a human rights issue when there are three tears.(The three tears mean that all have healthcare but not equal healthcare). If you are poor you are still left behind in the care you get. 2. There is a basic flaw in what and who receives care under the donations of others who were suppose to cop up those donations.( Is it other American Citizens this donation is given to or just anyone who has two feet on American soil). There were major problems in the system we now have...