Republican Sen. Susan Collins predicted Sunday that the ruling late Friday by a federal judge in Texas declaring the entire Affordable Care Act unconstitutional will be overturned.

Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union” program, Maine’s senior senator said there is widespread support for certain aspects of the law, also known as Obamacare, such as protecting people with pre-existing medical conditions, and strong opposition to the individual mandate, which she said falls largely on people making less than $50,000 a year.

Collins called the judge’s ruling far too sweeping.

“There is no reason why the individual mandate cannot be struck down and keep all the good provisions,” such as coverage of pre-existing conditions, benefits for substance abuse and young people being able to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26, Collins said.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, meanwhile, denounced U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act.

“In one fell swoop, dropped days before Christmas, a single partisan judge’s decision could strip health care access from millions of Americans,” Pingree, who represents Maine’s 1st District, said in a statement Sunday. “If Texas v. United States stands, it would eliminate pre-existing conditions protections for tens of thousands of Mainers.”

She added: “The midterm elections were an overwhelming affirmation that Americans want affordable health care and the incoming Democratic House will do everything in our power to ensure affordable health care for all.”

In a wide-ranging interview on the news of the week, Collins also said Sunday that she felt vindicated for her support of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and that she was not yet ready to conclude that President Trump broke campaign finance laws. Collins also appeared on the ABC News program “This Week,” where she made similar comments.

Asked if it bothered her that Trump was accused of felonies by prosecutors in their investigation of his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen – who was sentenced to three years in prison last week for crimes that included arranging hush payments during the 2016 election to women who claimed affairs with Trump – Collins said she is not ready to answer that question.

“These allegations are concerning, but we have to wait until we have the entire picture,” she said.

She said that is why it is critical that special counsel Robert Mueller be allowed to complete his investigation.

Collins said right now she has two different pictures of Cohen: the lying and deceitful picture painted by the prosecutors in New York, and the cooperative and helpful one painted by Mueller’s team.

“The picture is still murky,” she said.

Collins explained that she felt vindicated for her support of Kavanaugh after he sided with Chief Justice John Roberts and four liberal Supreme Court justices last week in declining to review whether states can block Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers from their Medicaid programs. Collins was lambasted by abortion supporters and women’s rights groups for her support of Kavanaugh, whose opponents said he would allow the government to regulate abortion more strictly.

“Planned Parenthood was Kavanaugh’s number one opponent and yet when it came to this case he was able to put that aside and rule impartially and independently,” she said.

She also declined to comment on whether she would support a Republican challenger to Trump in the 2020 primaries.

 


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