John McCain to return to Senate Tuesday for health care vote

Elias Hubbard
August 2, 2017

NY [U.S.A.], July 30::President Donald Trump took to Twitter to criticize U.S. Senate rules requiring 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, after a devastating setback to the GOP effort to repeal and replace Obamacare.

The bill's language is not yet final or public, but as NPR's Sue Davis reports on All Things Considered, it is said to involve some combination of repealing the individual mandate, some of the taxes in the ACA, defunding Planned Parenthood for at least a period of time and allowing states to opt out of some of the minimum standards of coverage for insurance plans that the Affordable Care Act requires.

Senator John McCain, recently diagnosed with brain cancer, was one of three Republican senators to vote against the bill, along with all the Senate Democrats, thus ensuring its defeat.

"Hello, he only needed 51 in the health care bill and couldn't do it", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., helpfully reminded reporters. "For myself I can say - and I bet I'm pretty safe in saying for most on this side of the aisle - that bailing out insurance companies with no thought of any kind of reform is not something I want to be part of". Trump tweeted Saturday, July 29 about his disappointments, particularly with Chin.

Cornyn also remarks of Mulvaney, a former House member, "I don't think he's got much experience in the Senate, as I recall". Skinny Repeal was considered the Senate's Last Best Stab as passing something to get Obamacare killed. In an impassioned speech the day he returned, McCain had called for bipartisanship on major issues of national concern, and a return to the "regular order" of legislating by committee.

It was left to McCain, however, to do the deed so the others could protect themselves from the retribution of party leaders or the wrath of party Tea Party voters in the next Republican primary. McCain joined two other Republicans, Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME), with his vote against the repeal.

The skinny repeal, as I understand it, would abolish the Obama law's mandates for individuals and larger companies (and ax a tax on medical device makers).

Lawmakers spoke of two possible but hard routes forward. "We can not let the public believe that we are done with healthcare".

But wait, asked Senate Republicans, what if we pass something - and it actually becomes law?

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, though clearly pleased with the outcome of the vote early Friday morning, insisted it was "not a time for celebration, it's a time for relief". "We are not celebrating".

The payments are the subject of a lawsuit brought by House Republicans over whether the Affordable Care Act specifically included a congressional appropriation for the money, as required under the Constitution.

The subsidies are estimated at $7 billion a year and help reduce costs such as deductibles for people with low incomes.

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey had spoken on the floor hours earlier, expressing his support for advancing a narrow Obamacare repeal bill that he hoped would be expanded to address Medicaid costs and other scuttled provisions when the two chambers met to hammer out their differences.

Some senators were not ready to drop health-care, however.

So they need to pass something, anything, to get to a House-Senate conference and then declare victory.

"Unless the Republican Senators are total quitters, Repeal & Replace is not dead!" Obama's law extended coverage to some 20 million people, reducing the nation's uninsured rate to a historic low of around 9 percent. Bill Cassidy, R-La., who had tried and failed to broker a bipartisan compromise. In May, Trump called for the election of "more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51%". For example, Republicans consistently argue that draconian reductions to the Medicaid program are not actual cuts, a position that virtually all health experts disagree with.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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