Our Superhero John McCain was spotted at the Capitol again last night hard at work. In the wee hours of Friday morning, the Senate was still in session, hoping to pass a so-called “skinny” version of Obamacare repeal and replace. This would have kept the bill alive and sent it to a conference committee between the House and Senate.
The major parts of the “skinny” bill were:
- Permanently repealed the individual mandate
- Repealed for eight years the employer mandate
- Allowed states to seek waivers from some Obamacare regulations
The Congressional Budget Office reported that this skinny repeal would have led to the loss of coverage for up to 16 million Americans and increased Exchange premiums by up to 20%.
Throughout the night, both conservative and moderate GOP senators were wringing their hands over what to do. Some moderates feared the bill would become law and make Obamacare even less stable. Conservatives feared it would become law and mean little was accomplished to get rid of what they see as a baneful entitlement. A statement by House Speaker Paul Ryan, as well as some private phone calls by him to key senators, indicated that the bill would lead to negotiations over a final bill. But the statement did not close the door on passing the Senate version and sending it to President Trump for signature.
Some GOP senators were satisfied with the political cover, no matter what would have happened to the bill in the end. Three senators stood up against the bill and joined with 48 Democrats to strike it down, 49-51.
- Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
- Senator Susan Collins of Maine
- Our Superhero John McCain of Arizona himself cast the deciding vote
These three understood the implications for the country if there was a chance the bill passed. We are sure they will all feel the wrath of various political figures for what we view as a rather courageous act.
Much as he did earlier this week (read about Superhero McCain’s true grit here), McCain issued a statement after the vote imploring the Senate to come together in a bipartisan fashion to solve the issue. “We must now return to the correct way of legislating and send the bill back to committee, hold hearings, receive input from both sides of the aisle, heed the recommendations of nation’s governors, and produce a bill that finally delivers affordable health care for the American people,” McCain said.
Will the radioactive Kryptonite that pervades Capitol Hill foil our Superhero? Stay tuned to this blog to follow future developments.