Sen. Susan Collins presents herself as an advocate of good government. In 2009, she voted against the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) partly because she had problems with how it was enacted. But the policy has worked pretty well. Millions of Americans now have health insurance who didn’t have it before and, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, more than 50,000 lives have been saved.

Republicans warned the policy would kill jobs and raise budget deficits, but unemployment currently stands at the lowest point since 2006, and the federal budget deficit, as a percentage of GDP, is now lower than it was during most of the Reagan presidency.

Now most Republicans in Congress want to repeal the ACA without a replacement. “Repeal and delay” is the opposite of good governance. It would destroy many American lives and create huge uncertainties in the medical industry — so critical to Maine’s economy — no doubt putting many Mainers out of well-paying jobs (with insurance). The American Medical Association and two of the largest hospital associations are opposed to such a move.

Collins, who is very smart, knows all that very well. Admirably, she has been hesitant to endorse the Republicans’ planned chaos. Her vote will have little effect on her electoral prospects, but it could have a huge impact on the final outcome.

I appeal to Collins’ conscience and to the judgment of history.

James Richter, Lewiston

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