2017 was the year the Republican party tried multiple times (and in multiple ways) to kill the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare). After a first failed attempt at repealing the ACA, the GOP lead Senate tried to sneak through a “skinny repeal,” killing the parts of the bill the GOP were least happy with while leaving nothing new in its place. Through every attempt at killing health care, two GOP Senators held fast and stopped their own party’s attempts at removing the health coverage millions of Americans need. They are Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, and their alliance showed the Republican party that its women will not be silenced by the male status quo.
Along with Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Murkowski and Collins have been vocal about the lack of foresight their party has had in their attempts to kill Obamacare. Murkowski and Collins’ constant questioning of exactly how each potential repeal could work ended in their being silence during discussions about ACA changes. The senators were not invited to any working groups during the GOP’s initial planning stages, so Collins created her own working group with senators from both parties in hopes that their discoveries would lead to a better way of administering health care.
When the ACA repeal attempts finally died out, many in the media championed Arizona Senator John McCain for his impassioned speech on the floor, but McCain’s last minute, “no” to a repeal vote wasn’t the one changing minds. It was Murkowski and Collins who not only stood up in the face of a party largely interested in dismantling health care, but also stood up to their male colleagues in a way few others in their party have done before.
Murkowski and Collins prove that women’s voices within the Republican landscape are stronger than many may have thought. With their strength reflected within their party, perhaps more women will follow suit in joining the ranks of the GOP, and change the way the party operates.
This piece is part of our new project “Year in Women.” Check out all the women featured:
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