Sen. Susan Collins
Republican, Maine

Sometimes regarded as a dying breed—a moderate, Northeastern Republican—Collins, 61, has come up in politics the hardest ways, first as a committee staffer to then-Republican U.S. Rep. William Cohen (later to be a senator and then secretary of defense under Bill Clinton). While a staffer, she directed the Oversight of Government Management Subcommittee in the Senate, and later became a regional director for the Small Business Administration.
In other words, the senior senator from Maine knows how many beans make five.
That’s why providers look on her as a reliable, principled advocate, says Maine Health Care Association President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Erb.
“Sen. Collins consistently provides leadership on long term care issues,” Erb says. “She has been particularly interested in the impact observation stay rules have on Maine seniors and diligently worked in a bipartisan fashion to address the problem.
“As a ranking member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, she convened a hearing to tackle this important issue, and we appreciate her continued efforts on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries. They are fortunate to have her in their corner.”
Collins has also won props from national advocates for her work (with Cardin) to repeal Medicare therapy caps.
“I have long been concerned about the potential for harm posed by this unfair and arbitrary cap on outpatient rehabilitation services, particularly for our frailest Medicare patients,” she says. “Medicare patients recovering from a stroke, hip fracture, or other disease or condition requiring extensive therapy may not be able to receive all of the services they need under the current cap, and it is time for Congress to enact a long-term solution to this problem.”