Social media’s reaction to John McCain this week has been a rollercoaster.
He’s up (his rousing speech in the Senate after brain cancer diagnosis); he’s down (he casts deciding vote to open debate on repealing Obamacare); he’s up again (he breaks from his party to cast deciding vote against the “skinny repeal.”)
Or all that in reverse, depending on the political perspective.
After the 80-year-old Arizona senator’s latest act – his maverick “no” vote that meant a 51-49 defeat for President Donald Trump‘s latest push to repeal the Affordable Care Act – his week will end on a high note, as far as most of the twitterverse is concerned (except, of course, for those who support the president.)
The passing of the repeal bill fell under the domain of the budget’s reconciliation process, so Senate leadership only needed 50 votes to get the repeal provisions passed. With 52 Senators in the conference, they ended up with three defectors: Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and McCain. Collins and Murkowski had long been vocal about their disapproval to the repeal measures with Collins adamantly opposing against any provision that prohibited Medicaid funds from going to Planned Parenthood, which the final bill did propose.
McCain took issue with the legislative proceedings leading up to the vote, arguing that hearings should be held before anyone could cast a vote. In a statement released after the vote, the veteran lawmaker said that the proposed measures “offered no replacement to actually reform our health care system,” The Hill reported.
“While the amendment would have repealed some of Obamacare’s most burdensome regulations, it offered no replacement to actually reform our health care system and deliver affordable, quality health care to our citizens,” McCain said in his first statement after voting to kill the bill.
The final Republican bill would have repealed the employer and individual mandates under Obamacare, causing premiums to rise 20% between 2018 and 2026 and leaving 43 million more people without insurance in 2026, according to an estimate released Thursday from the Congressional Budget Office.
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McCain indicated that he might be pulling a political bait and switch when he told reporters ahead of the vote to “watch the show.”
The so-called “skinny” repeal, which would have scaled back some of the more controversial provisions, is the third failed attempt to repeal Obamacare.