With 3 GOP Votes Against It, Obamacare Repeal Fails Again

It took a middle-of-the-night vote and three Senate Republicans, but despite all party pressure, the GOP’s attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act has once more failed.

The inability to pass any legislation with a majority vote — whether a full repeal and replace, a repeal and delay or even a “skinny” repeal  – is a major setback to both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican President Donald Trump.

The end of the ACA appeared ominously near this week, as Arizona Senator John McCain arrived at the Capitol fresh off surgery and a brain cancer diagnosis. He ultimately cast the vote to tie opinions on opening the debate on repeal. A hectic day of “vote-a-rama” bill readings, amendments and pressure from inside and outside D.C. soon followed.

The votes began with a full Obamacare repeal, which failed by a wide margin.

“The failed effort was a remarkable contrast from less than two years ago, when a Republican-controlled House and Senate passed an identical measure and sent it to Obama. He vetoed the bill. In 2015, the passage of that legislation was largely viewed as a political messaging exercise: GOP lawmakers were keenly aware that Obama would not sign it into law,” CNN reported. “But now, with Republican President Donald Trump in the White House and ready to sign a bill, the stakes are real — as are the realities of voting to repeal the current health care law without a replacement in place. The failure crystalized the new reality for Republicans: more than seven years after the enactment of Obamacare, there is growing recognition within the GOP that a straight repeal of the law is not viable”.

Republican leaders were aware that their attempt for a full repeal — despite having no replacement plan — was a long shot. They instead cast their hopes on the idea of a “skinny” repeal — one that would primarily take out the individual mandate and allow Obamacare to collapse on its own without a healthy insurance pool to pull from. To pass that legislation, they simply needed another 50-person vote, like the one that opened debate in the first place.

Republican leaders already saw Maine Senator Susan Collins as a lost cause and gave up on trying to change her mind. But leadership held out hope that they could strong-arm a “yes” out of Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, who had refused to give in to pressure before the vote. The president then brought out the big guns, threatening to take federal support from her state if Murkowski continued to vote against him.

“[Alaska Senator Dan] Sullivan said the Interior secretary [Ryan Zinke]  was clear that his message was in response to the no vote Murkowski cast Tuesday on the motion to proceed with debate on the House-passed health care legislation,” reports Alaska Daily News. “Efforts and issues on the line include nominations of Alaskans to Interior posts, an effort to build a road out of King Cove through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, and future opportunities to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and expand drilling in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, among other regulatory issues that are a priority for Murkowski and Sullivan.”

Despite administrative hardball, Murkowski refused to vote in favor of any repeals, holding strong against the president’s pressure.

The skinny repeal plan still had a chance to pass with another tie vote and a tie-breaker from Vice President Mike Pence. But in the end, it was thwarted by the same man who allowed debate to open in the first place :Arizona Senator John McCain.

“On Tuesday, Republicans cheered their Arizona senator when he swooped in and kept their hopes of passing an Obamacare repeal alive. But by the wee hours of Friday, it was Democrats who wanted to hug the war hero for voting with them to keep the Affordable Care Act on the books and defeat the last Republican plan standing, known as the ‘skinny’ repeal,” ABC reports. Calls from the President and pressure from his colleagues all failed to move him to a vote in favor of limited repeal without any plan for a replacement bill.

Thanks to healthcare activists — especially disabled activists – phone calls, letters, emails, Democrats and three Republican Senators, the attempt to repeal Obamacare has come to an end. Now we can only hope that Congress will someday come up with a bipartisan approach to make it even better.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

69 comments

Margie F
Margie FOURIE4 months ago

Okay

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Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E4 months ago

brian f
Do your homework !!!
NO credibility brian and please don't read all YOUR fake news and watch youtube to get facts. Laughable. President Obama, the ONLY President to at least get something passed that the republicans now can't seem to take away.

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Brian F
Brian F4 months ago

Rhoberta E Obama promised to give us single payer universal healthcare before he was elected, and he had the majority his first two years in office. Even if he still couldn’t have got it passed, he still could have tried. Even now Obama doesn’t support single payer universal healthcare, because he is bought and paid for by our criminal healthcare industry, like most of the Democrats and all of the Republicans. The Republican plan is terrible, but the Democratic plan to expand the ACA is still far short of what we need, single payer universal healthcare. Obama broke his promise and gave us a crappy Republican plan because he is bought and paid for by big pharma and our criminal healthcare industry like Hillary, and most of the Democrats, and all the Republicans.

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Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E4 months ago

brian f
You have lost ALL credibility with your whining and blaming President Obama for not pushing for "single payer" Now the government is ALL GOP and still they can't pass anything !!!
You should be thanking President Obama for getting passed what he did because now the citizens know what it's like to have health care.

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Jetana A
Jetana A4 months ago

This will tide us over until the progressive dems can get us what we really want -Medicare for All.

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Brian F
Brian F4 months ago

The Republican plan is horrible, but the Democratic plan to expand the ACA, is not good enough. We need single payer universal healthcare, but most of the Democrats are corrupt, like Claire McCaskill who took $800,000 from our criminal healthcare industry as a bribe, and are refusing to support single payer universal healthcare, because they are bought and paid for by big pharma and our criminal healthcare industry, like the Republicans. Obama could have given us single payer Universal healthcare, like he promised, but instead gave us a crappy Republican plan, the ACA, because he is a crook like Hillary who is owned by our criminal healthcare industry like most of the Democrats, and all of the Republicans.

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Karen H
Karen H4 months ago

When I ask my senator (Marco Rubio) about Trumpcare, all he says is that "Obamacare doesn't work" and he's "working on" a replacement. No details. And it's a shame that Trump and his cronies are blackmailing and bullying Alaska to vote to get rid of Obamaare. (So much for Melania and her anti-bullying campaign.)

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Just Human
Just Human4 months ago

It's easy to sit on the sidelines and criticized the ACA. Not so easy to come up with coherent health care legislation. The GOP have nothing but BS for the American people.

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Carl R
Carl R4 months ago

Thanks!!!

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heather g
heather g4 months ago

So there are very few Republicans who are in touch with reality and their voters.

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