You recently praised Sen. Susan Collins for her new health care bill (Our View, Jan. 29). Your praise, I propose, is premature and misguided.

Sen. Collins, I’ve often observed, is skilled at making herself appear to be the moderate icon that Maine’s media, including the Press Herald, are always praising.

Occasionally she actually does act like a moderate, but in very important ways she’s far more to the right than Maine is. Consider her longstanding failure to call out the climate-change deniers at the top of her party as well as their plans for ruining both Social Security and Medicare.

Sen. Collins is currently under considerable pressure for failing to stand up to Donald Trump’s outrageously unqualified or ideologically throttled Cabinet nominees. So, is her health care bill an effort to distract and mislead critics among her constituents?

Your own praise contains a clue that supports this skepticism. As noted in your editorial, the details of her plan are sketchy, especially regarding whether it will do much to help the poor and the average middle-class family. Let’s see how much energy Sen. Collins exerts putting out those details and see whether the plan is better than Obamacare and genuinely affordable, or just pretends to be so.

We will know she’s serious about health care if she forthrightly announces opposition to nominee Tom Price, who, as head of the Department of Health and Human Services, will surely derail any authentic health care plan. If the senator won’t oppose Price, then we’ll know her “plan” is actually a political ploy to make her constituents think she is the moderate they want her to be.

Robert Schaible