Trio Of Republican Senators Help Vote Down ‘skinny Repeal’ Of Obamacare
Later, he was seen giving Murkowski a thumbs-down, signaling his intentions, MSN reported.
McCain said he’s repeated many times 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.”
“We should not make the mistakes of the past that has led to ObamaCare’s collapse, including in my home state of Arizona, where premiums are skyrocketing and health care providers are fleeing the marketplace,” McCain said.
“We must now return to the correct way of legislating and send the bill back to committee, hold hearings, receive input from both sides of the aisle, heed the recommendations of the nation’s governors, and produce a bill that finally delivers affordable health care for the American people,” he said.
The Senate’s action means that the Affordable Care Act, which extended health insurance to 20 million people, remains in place.
“This is clearly a disappointing moment,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said early Friday. “The American people are going to regret that we couldn’t find a better way forward.”
A Dagger In Trump’s Plans
The arc of history is long, but it bends towards revenge.
Just over two years after candidate Donald Trump mocked John McCain’s Vietnam War record, noting that he prefers heroes “who weren’t captured”, the Arizona senator stuck a dagger in President Trump’s healthcare reform plans.
There were gasps when Mr McCain, after being furiously lobbied by Vice-President Mike Pence, joined two other Republican senators in voting against the so-called “skinny” repeal plan, considered the bare minimum Senate Republicans could agree on.
Instead of a big step toward becoming law – either in its skinny form or after further negotiations with the House of Representatives – the future of Obamacare repeal has been thrown into doubt.
The reality is, for now, there is no minimum level of change on which Senate Republicans can agree. They either have to work with Democrats or resign themselves to stalemate and move on to other topics, like taxes or infrastructure spending.
It will take some time for the scale of this late-night Senate drama to sink in. No one really expected Mr McCain to be the decisive vote, but the man who once had a reputation as a Republican “maverick”, now facing a dire brain cancer diagnosis, had at least one more surprise in his pocket.
What Happened In The Senate
The vote was delayed after Senate Republicans kept a procedural vote open before the actual Obamacare vote while they attempted to persuade their members to vote for the repeal.
Vice President Mike Pence was seen talking to Mr McCain for more than 20 minutes. But Mr McCain then approached a group of Democrats, who appeared happy to see him.
The bill was eventually voted down by 51 votes to 49 in the Republican-dominated Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, described the result as a “disappointing moment”.
Democrat Chuck Schumer said his party was relieved that millions of people would retain their healthcare.
John Mccain Sinks ‘skinny Repeal’ Of Obamacare Health Act
Arizona senator, whose war record Trump mocked, deals major blow to president’s agenda in dramatic late-night vote
Arizona senator John McCain torpedoed his party’s Obamacare repeal bill – and with it Donald Trump’s legislative agenda – in a night of high drama on Capitol Hill in the early hours of Friday morning.
McCain’s vote against the bill delivered a major setback for Republicans who have spent seven years vowing to repeal and replace Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
McCain, who returned to Washington this week after being diagnosed with brain cancer, joined fellow Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska in voting down the so-called “skinny repeal” bill 51-49. Their no votes had been expected, but McCain’s came as a stunning and decisive blow to Senate Republicans and the president.
The bill would have removed the individual mandate, a key aspect of Obamacare which requires all Americans to have health insurance or pay a fine. In an released roughly an hour after the bill was filed, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that 15 million people would lose their cover if it passed and premiums would rise by 20%.
Trump issued a statement on Twitter early on Friday morning in which he insisted that he now wanted to let Obamacare collapse. He said: “3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!”
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Something seemed afoot before the vote. It was delayed. McCain was seen huddling with Democrats. Vice President Pence, who had come to the Capitol expecting to be the tiebreaking vote, personally — and unsuccessfully — lobbied McCain on the floor to try to win his vote.
With McCain’s vote apparently gone, Republicans were seen trying to persuade Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski to vote for the bill — to no avail. She eventually also voted no along with Maine’s Susan Collins.
Fact Check: How Many Gop Senators Voted To Repeal Obamacare
The United States Senate voted three times in July to repeal all or part of the Affordable Care Act]. All of the measures failed. Commenting on the apparent change of position among Republicans who voted against repeal on July 26, Senator Ben Sasse claimed, “With just one exception, every member of the Republican majority already either voted for repeal or explicitly campaigned on repeal.”
Is Sasse correct? Did every current Republican senator, except one, previously vote for or campaign on repeal of the Affordable Care Act?
Yes. With the exception of Sen. Susan Collins , all 49 current Republican senators who were in office in 2015 voted that year to repeal elements of the ACA . Seven Republican senators who were in office in 2015, including Collins, voted against a similar bill on July 26, 2017.
Senators John Neely Kennedy and Todd Young , both elected in 2016, campaigned to repeal the ACA. Sen. Luther Strange , appointed in 2017 and currently running in a special election, has also campaigned on repeal. All three senators voted to repeal the ACA on July 26.
Republicans Refused To Vote To Roll Back Obamacares Coverage Gains
Collins and Murkowski have made clear for weeks that simply undoing what Obamacare had accomplished — coverage gains, expanded Medicaid, protections for people with preexisting conditions — was unacceptable.
“I want greater access and lower costs. So far, I’m not seeing that happen,” Murkowski told me in mid-June.
Her state, though it struggles with the highest health care costs in the country, has expanded Medicaid to cover its poorest residents and has seen tens of thousands of people sign up for private coverage. Every plan Republicans put forward was projected to result in millions fewer people having insurance and out-of-pocket costs rising.
Collins made it equally plain.
“I cannot support a bill that is going to result in tens of millions of people losing their health insurance,” she said last month.
The math on each of the Senate GOP plans was clear. Repeal and replace: 22 million more uninsured. Repeal only: 32 million. “Skinny” repeal: 16 million.
The striking coverage losses led other Republican senators to oppose every plan but skinny repeal. Sen. Dean Heller also voted against repeal and replace and clean repeal after holding a press conference last month with his state’s Republican governor, saying that the gains made after Nevada expanded Medicaid shouldn’t be reversed.
“We can’t let fall behind the progress we’ve made in Nevada,” Heller said.
Likewise, on the repeal-only legislation, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said she couldn’t support it.
Collins was aghast.
Trump Wants To ‘repeal And Replace’ The Affordable Care Act Quickly
Following the Republican playbook, Donald Trump promised as president to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to replace it with something that emphasizes free market principles.
“Real change begins with immediately repealing and replacing the disaster known as Obamacare,” Trump said at a Nov. 7, 2016, rally in Michigan.
Currently, 20 million people have health insurance under President Barack Obama’s signature law, and the uninsured rate is below 9 percent, a record low. Repealing and replacing Obamacare would require lawmakers to figure out whether they will cover those people, and if so, how.
WHY HE’S PROMISING IT
The Affordable Care Act isn’t popular. Polling conducted in 2016 shows that Americans are divided on the law.
And the law has some problems. Despite provisions aimed at curbing rising health care costs, premiums for plans on HealthCare.gov are expected to go up an average of 22 percent in 2017. Insurance companies have pulled out of the marketplaces in 29 states.
HOW MUCH WOULD IT COST
Trump has several policy ideas for what the health care law replacement should include. He suggests allowing providers to sell insurance across state lines, making it so individuals could deduct premium payments from their tax returns and requiring price transparency from health care providers. He also proposes block-granting Medicaid to the states and encouraging health savings accounts.
WHAT’S STANDING IN HIS WAY
How Susan Collins Helped Save Obamacare
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The country owes Senator Susan Collins, of Maine, a big vote of thanks.Absent her steadfastness over the past few months, the G.O.P. might havesucceeded in blowing up Obamacare. If that had happened, many millionsof Americans would now be facing the possibility of losing theirhealth-insurance coverage, while countless seniors and sick people wouldbe on the hook to pay much higher insurance premiums.
Contrary to the suspicions of some people on the right, Collins isn’t acloset Democrat. She voted to confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court,and for all but two of Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees. In 2010, shevoted against the A.C.A.; in 2011 and 2015, she voted to repeal it. Onmany occasions, she has criticized the 2010 reform for offeringAmericans limited choices and high premiums and deductibles. But, unlikemost of her G.O.P. colleagues, Collins has also defied the Party lineand recognized some of the good that Obamacare has done. The A.C.A. “hasallowed millions of individuals and families to obtain health insurancefor the first time,” she when she voted against the skinny-repeal bill. “It has also brought important patient protections like those for people with pre-existingconditions and prohibitions on annual and lifetime limits and oninsurance payments for needed care.”
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Sen. John McCain — who stunned his fellow Republicans by voting against the “skinny” repeal of ObamaCare — said Friday he did not think it would “actually reform our health care system” and ensure proper coverage for Americans, according to a report.
“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.
“The speaker’s statement that the House would be ‘willing’ to go to conference does not ease my concern that this shell of a bill could be taken up and passed at any time,” he added.
The 80-year-old Arizona senator was recently diagnosed with brain cancer, but he returned to the Senate in time to cast a decisive vote in favor of opening debate on GOP legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
But he stunned his party when the final vote was at hand early Friday when he voted “no” and killed the legislation.
In the process, the maverick dealt what looks like the death blow to the Republican Party’s seven-year quest to get rid of President Barack Obama’s 2010 health law.
Along with McCain, GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska joined Democrats in the dramatic 51-49 vote rejecting the bill despite intense pressure from the White House.
Vice President Mike Pence arrived in the Senate chambers shortly after midnight in case he was needed for a tie-breaker.
Trump Signs Executive Order On Obamacare; Impact Unclear
On his first day in office, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that gave federal agencies broad authority to defer or delay any part of the Affordable Care Act that costs anybody any money.
More formally, the order tells agencies they can “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement of the Act that would impose a fiscal burden on any State or a cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden on individuals, families, healthcare providers, health insurers, patients, recipients of healthcare services, purchasers of health insurance, or makers of medical devices, products, or medications.”
That’s a mouthful, but what does it mean, and how far does it go to repeal Obamacare?
Larry Levitt, senior vice-president at the respected and neutral Kaiser Family Foundation, said in a series of tweets that while the impacts are unclear, it shows the administration is “moving to unwind the Affordable Care Act, but it won’t be immediate.”
Levitt added, “One sure outcome is it creates uncertainty for insurers at a critical time.”
Health care analyst Sabrina Corlette at Georgetown University echoed Levitt’s point.
“For insurers already uncertain about their future in the Affordable Care markets, the uncertainty this executive order generates doesn’t help,” Corlette said. “At a minimum they’ll have to factor it into their 2018 premiums, which are due to be filed by May 3 in most states.”
But that hasn’t happened yet.
Obamacare Repeal Bill Fails In Senate Vote
A proposal that would partially repeal Obamacare fell short of the 51 votes needed to pass it Wednesday afternoon, dealing yet another blow to the GOP effort to roll back the 2010 health care law.
The Senate rejected the plan in a 45-55 vote. All Democrats voted against it, along with seven Republicans. They are:
- Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-West Virginia
- Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine
- Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee
- Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska
All of them except Collins voted in favor of a nearly identical proposal two years ago.
Republicans needed a simple majority, 51 votes, rather than a supermajority to pass it because they were using the budget reconciliation process.
The vote was among a number of amendments that are being debated and voted on in the Senate this week as Republicans try to find consensus on a repeal plan.
The text of the legislation mirrors a bill that the Senate passed in 2015 that President Obama then vetoed. Under the measure, most of Obamacare would be repealed, but that wouldn’t take effect for two years, giving Republicans time to come up with a replacement plan.
Three Senate Republicans came out against this idea last week: Susan Collins, Shelley Moore Capito and Lisa Murkowski. This plan could also be even more complicated if Democrats retake control of any part of Congress in 2019. CBO projected earlier this month that 32 million more people would be left without health insurance in 2026.
What Did Biden Say About The Ruling
In an official statement, Biden called the court’s decision to uphold the policy “a major victory for all Americans benefitting from this groundbreaking and life-changing law.”
The statement concluded, “Today’s decision affirms that the Affordable Care Act is stronger than ever, delivers for the American people, and gets us closer to fulfilling our moral obligation to ensure that, here in America, health care is a right and not a privilege.”
The President tweeted a more humorous comment on the ruling: “With millions of people relying on the Affordable Care Act for coverage, it remains, as ever, a BFD. And it’s here to stay.”
“BFD” is a reference to the hot-mic moment during the initial signing of the bill when then-Vice President Biden was caught whispering to then-President Obama, “This is a big f**king deal.”
A big win for the American people. There’s no better day than today to sign up for quality, affordable health care at .With millions of people relying on the Affordable Care Act for coverage, it remains, as ever, a BFD. And it’s here to stay.
— President Biden June 17, 2021
Former President Obama also to celebrate the upholding of what is widely considered the defining legislation of his presidency.
“Today, the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act. Again. This ruling reaffirms what we have long known to be true: the Affordable Care Act is here to stay.”
Directive Ending Key Subsidy Threatens Obamacare’s Viability
After failing in several attempts to pass legislation overturning the Affordable Care Act, the Trump administration took a big step toward undercutting the law Oct. 12 when it said it would no longer continue funding a class of widely used subsidies without congressional appropriations.
The payments in question are known as “cost-sharing reductions.” They were intended to ease copayments and deductible costs for millions of low-income Americans who have purchased insurance coverage on the Affordable Care Act online marketplaces. The cost of the payments was $9 billion next year and nearly $100 billion over the next decade.
The payments have been subject to a legal dispute since House Republicans sued in 2014, arguing that the Obama administration was improperly paying the subsidies when no money had been appropriated for that purpose by Congress. The House Republicans’ lawsuit was initially upheld in federal district court, but the case has continued to work its way through the courts.
In its announcement, the White House specifically cited the legal case as the reason for ending the payments. Insurers had been expecting a new round of payments on Oct. 18.
Health policy specialists agreed that the impact could be serious.
Experts said that lower-income Americans would be hurt the most by the change.
But ending the subsidies could have other indirect impacts, experts said.
Ending the subsidies will not necessarily be tantamount to repealing the law, as Trump promised to do.
Trump: We’ll Soon See If Republicans Will ‘step Up To The Plate’ On Health Care
“I’m not going to vote for something that’s a scaled down version, that’s a political punt,” Graham said earlier Tuesday. The South Carolina Republican will vote for the motion to proceed but added that a final product to fix the health care system should go through “regular order.”
Collins said the proposal wasn’t described at the weekly Senate GOP policy lunch.
“And so apparently that is an amendment that the leader would offer at the end,” she said. “I have no idea what’s going into that.”
And Republicans are considering making further changes to the repeal-and-replace plan. Administration officials and senators are discussing adding as much as $100 billion more to earlier drafts to help low-income people with premiums, Republicans said.
Before Tuesday’s vote, McConnell urged senators to take the first step to “provide relief on this failed left-wing experiment.”
“I’d like to reiterate what the president said yesterday. ‘Any senator who votes against starting debate,’ he said, ‘is telling America that you are fine with the Obamacare nightmare…’ That’s a position that even Democrats have found hard to defend,” McConnell said.
The fate of the vote was uncertain as recently as Tuesday morning. Paul, Heller and moderate Sen. Shelley Moore Capito waited until the final hours before the vote to announce they would support opening debate on the bill.
Heller said his support for whatever emerges later is not assured.
Is The Supreme Court Likely To Save Obamacare
The Supreme Court is likely to leave in place the bulk of Obamacare, including key protections for pre-existing health conditions.
Conservative justices John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh appeared in two hours of arguments to be unwilling to strike down the entire law — a long-held Republican goal.
The court’s three liberal justices are almost certain to vote to uphold the law in its entirety and presumably would form a majority by joining a decision that cut away only the mandate, which now has no financial penalty attached to it.
Leading a group of Democratic-controlled states, California and the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives are urging the court to leave the law in place.
A decision is expected by late spring.
Passage Of House Bill Revives Effort To Supplant Obamacare
Just six weeks after House Republicans pulled a bill to substantially overhaul the the nation’s health care system, they successfully — if narrowly — passed a revised version of the measure.
On May 4, 2017, the House passed a the bill by a margin.
Republican leaders adjusted the bill following negotiations with both the conservative and moderate wings of the party.
The revised bill would do several things.
It would end subsidies provided to people who buy health insurance on the Affordable Care Act’s online marketplaces, replacing them instead with tax credits. It would repeal several taxes imposed under the ACA that primarily hit high-income taxpayers. It would allow states to obtain waivers to some requirements of the Affordable Care Act, including the “essential health benefits” provision that requires maternity care or mental health services. And it would curb further expansion of Medicaid that had been allowed under the Affordable Care Act, as well as eventually capping Medicaid expenditures in ways that would effectively end its status as an entitlement.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the original version of the bill would have increased the number of uninsured people by 24 million by 2026. The changes made before passage might change that number, but the specific impact awaits a new score by CBO, which is expected in the coming days.
Attacks On Sessions Could Be A Red Line For Gop Senators
The bill was deeply unpopular, but GOP leaders worked to assure members it would never become law. Instead, they wanted the Senate to pass it in order to advance the legislation to a third round of negotiations with the House to try to craft a final bill both chambers could pass.
McCain was not moved by these assurances, including a private meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday prior to the Senate vote. After the vote, McCain quickly left the Capitol and declined to comment to reporters.
Schumer: ‘we Can Work Together Our Country Demands It’
Until the end, passage on the Health Care Freedom Act, also dubbed the “skinny” repeal, was never certain. Even Republicans who voted for it disliked the bill.
“The skinny bill as policy is a disaster. The skinny bill as a replacement for Obamacare is a fraud. The skinny bill is a vehicle to getting conference to find a replacement,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said at a Thursday evening news conference hours before the vote alongside fellow Republicans McCain, Ron Johnson and Bill Cassidy, before the details were released.
The “skinny” repeal was far from Republicans’ campaign promise of also rolling back Medicaid expansion, insurance subsidies, Obamacare taxes, and insurance regulations.
Many Republicans who did vote for it said they were holding their nose to vote for it just to advance the process into negotiations with the House of Representatives.
The legislation included a repeal of the individual mandate to purchase insurance, a repeal of the employer mandate to provide insurance, a one-year defunding of Planned Parenthood, a provision giving states more flexibility to opt out of insurance regulations, and a three-year repeal of the medical device tax. It also would have increased the amount that people can contribute to Health Savings Accounts.
Leigh Ann Caldwell is an NBC News correspondent.
How Republicans Who Voted Against Obamacare Repeal Fared In Midterms
Twenty House Republicans broke with their party last year and voted against the GOP bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare, a measure that Democrats used to hammer vulnerable Republicans in the campaign this year.
Four of those Republicans still lost on Tuesday, despite a move to blunt one of Democrats’ most potent attacks. But nine Republicans, about half, ended up winning.
Another six retired and so were not up for reelection. Several of them were likely to lose their races if they had run.
Some of the Republicans who won used their votes against ObamaCare repeal last year to show their independence from their party.
Voting “no” on last year’s bill did not stop Democrats from attacking these lawmakers on health care entirely, though.
Some Democratic ads, like one against Rep. Leonard LanceLeonard LanceKean Jr. to run against Malinowski: reportThomas Kean wins GOP primary to take on Rep. Tom MalinowskiGun debate to shape 2020 races , simply cited his votes to repeal ObamaCare in previous years.
Three of the nine Republicans who voted against the GOP ObamaCare repeal bill but won on Tuesday were also conservatives who opposed the bill from the right and did not face competitive reelection races.
Here is the full breakdown of how the 20 Republicans who voted “no” on repeal last year fared: