US Senate Republicans failed today to pass a ‘skinny’ bill which would have begun the process of dismantling Obamacare, leaving the future of the GOP-led effort to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law in question.
Three Republican senators – John McCain (R-Ariz.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) – joined Senate Democrats in a dramatic 51-49 vote to reject the ‘skinny’ bill during the early morning.
“It’s time to move on,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) said after the bill was defeated. “This is clearly a disappointing moment. The American people are going to regret that we couldn’t find a better way forward.”
The ‘skinny bill’ would have repealed only a few key parts of Obamacare and came after broader legislation was defeated earlier in the week.
The bill, released only 3 hours before voting began, would have retroactively repealed Obamacare’s individual mandate, alongside an 8-year repeal of penalties on certain businesses which did not provide employees with insurance, a repeal of the medical device tax until 2020 and the defunding of Planned Parenthood for at least 1 year.
In its report, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bill would have resulted in 15 million individuals losing insurance in 2018.
John McCain, who cast a surprising ‘no’ vote which killed the last-resort repeal bill, said he did so because he didn’t think the bill would “actually reform our healthcare system” and improve coverage, according to The Hill.
“While the amendment would have repealed some of Obamacare’s most burdensome regulations, it offered no replacement to actually reform our healthcare system and deliver affordable, quality healthcare to our citizens,” McCain said, according to the report.
McCain returned to Washington DC this week after being diagnosed with brain cancer, and was a deciding vote in opening the bill to debate on the Senate floor.
In his speech after the vote, McCain urged a bipartisan approach, stating 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.”
The failure leaves Trump without a major legislative win after more than 6 months in power, despite Republican control of the White House, Senate and House of Representatives.
“3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let Obamacare implode, then deal. Watch!” Trump wrote in Twitter in his response to the failed bill.