Published: Mon, July 31, 2017
World Media | By Joan Schultz

John McCain's Dramatic Vote on the Republican Health Bill

John McCain's Dramatic Vote on the Republican Health Bill

The legislation, referred to as a "skinny repeal" bill, would repeal the Affordable Care Act's individual and employer mandates and temporarily repeal the medical device tax.

Following rejection of two broader GOP repeal plans earlier in the week, the early Friday vote cast doubt on whether divided Senate Republicans can advance any health bill despite seven years of promises to repeal "Obamacare". "If Mitch McConnell can not get the job done then those 52 Republican senators have got to get together and try to figure out who amongst them have the leadership capability of getting the job done", he said. Democrats sat quietly at their desks and delayed voting until all Republicans votes were tallied.

The so-called "skinny repeal" was being touted as a way for Republicans to get something, anything, out of the Senate after frittering away the first six months of Donald Trump's presidency trying unsuccessfully to get rid of the current law.

Vincent DeMarco, a longtime health care advocate in Maryland, described the vote as "a awful step" toward stripping health insurance from millions of Americans and lamented that lawmakers "don't even know what they are voting for".

Republicans have faced an internal rift over how to replace Obamacare, with hard-line conservatives seeking a bill that thoroughly scraps it and moderates unwilling to support measures that could strip tens of millions of people of their health insurance.

"We're on a path to a solution", Alexander said on the Senate floor. Just on Friday, Trump called the 60-vote rule "senseless".

"This is clearly a disappointing moment", said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

"Maybe this can be a moment where we can start doing that. We don't have to accept it any longer", McConnell said.

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Collins has opposed repeal and replace efforts from the beginning, and Murkowski has also been critical of much of what the Senate Republican leadership has proposed.

MacArthur said he did not discount the possibility that the chambers could reach a compromise, pointing to the process that produced the House bill.

"Too many people have been harmed to allow tonight's vote to be the end", the Wisconsin Republican said "In the coming weeks my committee will hold hearings to lay out the realities of our health care system, and I am committed to working with anyone who is serious about addressing these issues".

Still, Ryan had seemingly opened a path for McConnell earlier Thursday by signaling a willingness to negotiate a more comprehensive bill with the Senate.

Advocates are breathing a sigh of relief after a pared down health care repeal was rejected by the U.S. Senate, but they say that threats to disability services remain. And he's made a number of statements suggesting that after a failure such as this, it would be a proper time to negotiate with Democrats and make health care law better. But he also said that he's "relieved" the measure didn't pass.

Trump reiterated his threat to "let Obamacare implode", an outcome he could hasten by steps such as halting federal payments to help insurers reduce out-of-pocket costs for lower-earning consumers.

"There would not be enough votes to pass it and send it to the president", said Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, head of the conservative Freedom Caucus. The vote was 49-51 with three Republicans joining all Democrats in voting 'no'. Collins' fellow New York Republicans, for instance, are wary that a provision that would affect Medicaid funding to their state might be dropped in the Senate bill.

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