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BREAKING: McCain Opposes Obamacare Repeal Bill, Possibly Sinking It

by Countable | 9.29.17

What’s the story?

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) announced on Friday that he opposes the Graham-Cassidy bill, the latest GOP attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare.

"I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal. I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried," McCain said in a statement.

McCain has joined Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) as one of two GOP "no" votes. The bill cannot afford to lose any additional senators, as Republicans need 50 votes to pass this legislation, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote.

Republicans only have until September 30th to pass the bill using the reconciliation process; after that, health-care legislation will require 60 votes to clear the Senate.

Why does it matter?

The Senate’s previous attempt to euthanize Obamacare failed by one vote, after McCain joined Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska in voting "no" on the so-called "skinny repeal."

In today’s statement, McCain voiced similar concerns to those that led him to his "no" vote in July. These include the lack of “extensive hearings, debate and amendment” and not knowing “how much it will cost, how it will impact insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it.”

Graham-Cassidy essentially gives states control of the health-care markets. So rather than the federal government funding Medicaid and providing subsidies, the money would be given to states in the form of a block grant. States could then use these funds to develop any health-care system they choose.

In his statement, McCain said it wasn’t the substance of the bill he had an issue with as much as how Graham-Cassidy was put together.

"I would consider supporting legislation similar to that offered by my friends Senators Graham and Cassidy were it the product of extensive hearings, debate and amendment. But that has not been the case," he said.

McCain concluded his statement saying he "takes no pleasure" in announcing his opposition to a bill authored by his “dear friends.” He wrote he knows “they are acting consistently with their beliefs and sense of what is best for the country. So am I.”

"I hope that in the months ahead, we can join with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to arrive at a compromise solution that is acceptable to most of us, and serves the interests of Americans as best we can."

What do you think?

Do you agree with McCain that the issue of health care is "too important, and too many lives are at risk, for us to leave the American people guessing from one election to the next whether and how they will acquire health insurance"? Or do you think he should have joined his fellow Republicans in supporting the Graham-Cassidy bill? Hit Take Action, tell your reps if they should – or shouldn’t - follow McCain, then release your own statement below.

—Josh Herman

Related Reading

Graham-Cassidy: Repealing Obamacare and Giving States Block Grants to Help People Buy Health Insurance

Graham-Cassidy Bill: By The Numbers

New GOP Healthcare Bill: How Will It Affect Women?

GOP Attempts CPR on Obamacare Replacement Bill

(Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr / Creative Commons)

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