Senate GOP's "skinny repeal" bill dies in middle-of-the-night vote

Bruno Cirelli
Luglio 29, 2017

The US Senate rejected a scaled-back Obamacare repeal bill on Friday in a shocking vote that marked a major defeat for Republican leaders and their seven-year effort to repeal the healthcare law, the media reported.

Senate Republicans failed to pass their "skinny bill" that would repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act on July 28.

Three Republican senators - Arizona's John McCain, Alaska's Lisa Murkowski and Maine's Susan Collins - voted to kill the GOP drive to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The 80-year-old Arizona senator made a dramatic return to the Capitol Tuesday after being diagnosed with brain cancer to cast a decisive procedural vote that for a time had advanced the legislation.

The coup de grace came at 1:30 a.m. on the Senate floor as John McCain became the third Republican to break ranks and defeat the third and final attempt to repeal Obamacare, which embodied the Democrats' promise that all American could - and should - have health insurance at a price they could afford. Trump also stated that he "said from the beginning, let Obamacare implode and then do it". When he says it split us, I think he means it split us - not as a party, not Republicans - it split us as a country. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) would not vote for the skinny repeal until Ryan pledges to “go to conference, ” where Graham can include a measure to shift current Obamacare funding into a block-grant program for states. An amendment to the bill passed on Thursday also repealed the so-called "Cadillac" tax on the most robust and expensive health care plans. Eliminating them would reduce tax revenues by almost $1 trillion over the next decade. "And we're moving on, '" said Alice Rivlin with the Brookings Institution.

The day's proceedings began with prodding from Trump, who's proven impatient and inconsistent throughout the health care debate and yet can claim some credit for resuscitating Senate talks after McConnell essentially declared them dead last week.

Conservative Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., running for a Senate seat, faulted McConnell for not crafting a plan that could pass.

Secondly, most insurance industry officials and independent experts say the federal government must create a better system to protect insurers from big losses if they are hit with very costly patients.

"We're not going to stop what we're doing just because of one setback".

McCain added, "It's time we sat down together and came up with a piece of legislation that addresses this issue".

McCain is chairman of the armed services committee, and he leads the annual defense bill that authorizes Pentagon spending and sets military policy.

The plan, introduced as an amendment to the House bill by Republican Sen. "It's time to move on", Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. He said if McConnell abandons the health care drive, "he should resign from leadership". But they won't be celebrating for long as the death spiral continues and prices continue to rise. That would provide money to insurers to help them subsidize some customers and prevent companies from driving up premiums or abandoning regions.

Freshman Florida Republican Rep. Francis Rooney told CNN that the collapse of the Obamacare repeal effort was "a bit of a civics lesson" and observing the fallout after his first 7 months of a topsy-turvy process, remarked, "it's just a very, very unusual time here".

The bill would strip health insurance from 16 million people and raise premiums by 20 percent, according to a preliminary analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.

Ryan responded that "the House is willing" to convene a conference committee with the Senate to that end.

Some Republican senators had been concerned that the House would simply pass McConnell's "skinny bill" and send it to Trump.

The health insurance industry is opposing the provision.

But in any event, John McCain, the guy who was seen as the swing vote, the one vote that Republicans needed and did not get, also spoke last night about a different way to approach this situation. But shortly afterward, his words received varied responses from three GOP senators who'd insisted on a clear commitment from Ryan.

McCain was joined by all Democrats and Republican Sens.

Opponents mobilized quickly against McConnell's trimmed-down bill.

Repeal the individual mandate: Say goodbye to the requirement that almost every American have insurance or pay a penalty.

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