Washington (CNN)Sen. Susan Collins, one of three Republican senators who sunk the “skinny repeal” of Obamacare on Friday, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that it was time to build a series of health care bills through the committee process.
“The ball is really in our court right now,” Collins said. “Our job is not done.”
The Maine Republican called for a return to the normal legislative process by addressing problems and crafting bills on the committee level before bringing them to a vote before the full chamber.
“We need to go back to committee,” she said.
Collins also emphasized her opposition to more comprehensive legislation and instead advocated the Senate “produce a series of bills” aimed at addressing pressing issues in health care. She said the first issue the Senate should focus on would be to stabilize the insurance markets.
“I certainly hope the administration does not do anything in the meantime to hasten that collapse,” Collins said.
In a tweet on Saturday, Trump warned that his administration would discontinue what he called “bailouts” for insurance companies and members of Congress unless a health care bill passed soon.
Collins contended that the cost-sharing reduction payments to insurance companies to cut deductibles and co-pays for lower-income people were not “bailouts,” and that although the payments went to insurance companies, they have helped many who need it most to gain access to health care.
“It really would be detrimental to some of the most vulnerable citizens if those payments were cut off,” Collins said.
On the second half of Trump’s tweet, targeting members of Congress, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said in a separate interview on the Sunday program that Trump was eying ending employer contributions for health insurance for members of Congress.
Lawmakers get insurance under the exchange system established under Obamacare, but as Mulvaney explained, the Office of Personnel Management during the Obama administration decided members would receive the employer contribution from the federal government.
“That’s the rule that the President was talking about in his tweet yesterday,” Mulvaney said.
Mulvaney further clarified that Trump’s tweet demanding a vote on health care before any other legislation was the White House’s official position.
“In the White House’s view, they can’t move on in the Senate,” Mulvaney said.
He argued Republicans in Congress need to pass a bill targeting Obamacare as a matter of practicality and politics.
“You promised folks you’d do this for seven years,” Mulvaney said. “You cannot go back on that.”