Collins tells Barr to reverse course, defend ObamaCare

Republican Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGOP put on the back foot by Trump's race storm GOP senator: 'Outrageous' to say Trump's tweets about Democratic congresswomen are racist Fox personalities blast Trump's remarks MORE (Maine) is urging Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet House poised to hold Barr, Ross in contempt Harris campaign accepts money from partners of law firm she criticized over Epstein case MORE to defend ObamaCare and reverse an earlier Justice Department decision.

In a letter, Collins expresses her “profound disagreement” with the department’s decision to side with a district court ruling that found the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional.

“This surprising decision goes well beyond the position taken by the Department last June" and puts a number of “critical consumer provisions” of the law at risk, she writes.

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The Justice Department's announcement marked a significant escalation of the administration’s renewed efforts to eliminate the law, with President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE seeking for the Republican Party to become “the party of great health care.”

Collins told Barr that the administration should approach Congress with proposed changes to the law or seek to repeal it again.

“The Administration should not attempt to use the courts to bypass Congress,” she writes.

Collins argues that while Congress struck down the individual mandate as part of its tax-reform law in 2017, it did not intend for protections for people with preexisting conditions to “stand or fall together with the individual mandate."

Republicans have yet to pass an alternative to ObamaCare, despite pushes to repeal and replace it. Acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke Acosta out as Trump Labor secretary Pelosi reportedly told Trump deputy: 'What was your name, dear?' MORE claimed Sunday that he can guarantee that Americans would not lose coverage if ObamaCare is struck down.

Collins, who is up for reelection next year and voted to confirm Barr, said last week that she was “surprised” and “appalled” by his decision on the health care law.

“I think the Justice Department has a duty to defend the duly enacted laws … I was surprised and disappointed," she said. "If the president disagrees with a law, then he should ask Congress to repeal or change that law. He should not try to get rid of it through the courts.” 

Updated at 9:24 a.m.