More and more Republicans in US Congress have openly stated that they would oppose a full repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare”. In turn, the Republicans have turned their attention to a “skinny repeal” which would do away with some of the facets of Obamacare, including the individual and employer mandates, while simultaneously giving the states more flexibility to allow insurers that don’t comply with Obamacare regulations.
The vote by the Senate held to decide the fate of Obamacare was a dramatic one, most notably because the fate of a law that has helped to insure thousands of Americans hung in the balance, but also because of one particular Senator’s vote. Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, just his second time back in the senate after his diagnosis, and subsequent surgery to help combat his brain cancer, shocked many, including colleagues, by voting against the repeal of Obamacare, a bill which he voted against in 2010.
When asked why Senator McCain voted against the repeal, he reportedly stated “I thought it was the right vote.” Senator McCain had just days previous, voted for a motion to allow the bill for repeal to go to a vote, dramatically helped to ensure its demise.
His vote for the motion days earlier, coupled with Senator McCain’s secrecy surrounding the vote, caused much speculation as to how the Senator would vote. Not until he walked to the center of the Senate floor and held his thumb down and loudly declared “No” did even his fellow Senators know what he would do. His vote was met with audible gasps and some applause as McCain along with all 48 Democratic senators, and Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and, Susan Collins of Maine, voted down the “skinny repeal, winning by just two votes.
This dealt yet another blow to the Trump administration, which has had rough luck the past few weeks, amid a personnel shakeup amongst senior staff, as well as President Trump attacking Attorney General Jeff Sessions on social media. The loss of the vote for a “skinny repeal” is an embarrassing legislative defeat for the President, as his campaign pledge to repeal Obamacare has still yet to take shape. After the vote, President Trump took to twitter to espouse displeasure over what he perceived to be the failings of the senators to vote the way he wished. The President tweeted: “3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!”
After his vote, Senator McCain reiterated his feelings from his speech on Tuesday wherein he made a passionate speech deriding the partisan nature of the efforts to repeal, as not a single democrat voted in favor of the skinny repeal. This is another example of Senator McCain stating his displeasure over strictly partisan bills, as this was part of his dissension against the 2010 Affordable Care Act, as, according to a New York Times Report, the Senator stated: “I’ve stated time and time again that one of the major failures of Obamacare was that it was rammed through Congress by Democrats on a strict-party line basis without a single Republican vote.” Senator McCain has called for a new bill to be negotiated with input from both parties.