McCain Dooms Latest Obamacare Repeal Bill

By on September 23, 2017

The latest attempt by Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare looks like it won’t pass in the Senate after Senator John McCain (R-AZ) announced on Friday that he would not vote for it. “I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal,” he said in a statement.

The bill had been procedurally fast-tracked for a vote by September 30 that would allow it to pass with a 50 to 50 tally (with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote) in a Senate narrowly divided between 52 Republicans and 48 Democrats (including independent Bernie Sanders). Although his opposition doesn’t solely kill the bill known as both Graham-Cassidy and vice-versa, others were also lining up or considering to vote against it.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) had said he was opposed to the measure. His reasons were that it doesn’t go far enough in ending government-subsidized healthcare.

McCain had been joined by two other Republican Senators in opposition to the Obamacare repeal attempt back in July: Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Collins said on Friday that she is “leaning against” this bill. Murkwoski had expressed concerns about it but not yet indicated how she would vote.

The Arizona Senator’s statement decried how the bill had been developed. “I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried,” he said. “Nor could I support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will affect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it. Without a full [Congressional Budget Office] score, which won’t be available by the end of the month, we won’t have reliable answers to any of those questions.”

He wants to see any healthcare bill that might replace Obamacare crafted in the usual fashion the Senate is supposed to follow. “I would consider supporting legislation similar to that offered by my friends Senators Graham and Cassidy were it the product of extensive hearings, debate and amendment. But that has not been the case,” McCain said.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted this week found that a majority of Americans preferred remaining with Obamacare (56 percent) over the latest GOP proposal (33 percent). The results did split along part lines. Only 23 percent of Republicans said they prefer Obamacare. But 85 percent of Democrats and 54 percent of independents favor it.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was quick to praise his colleague from across the aisle. “John McCain shows the same courage in Congress that he showed when he was a naval aviator.”

But perhaps the biggest compliment to McCain for his stance came from one of the bill’s most fervent public opponents.