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Senate GOP Effort To Pass Obamacare 'Skinny Repeal' Fails
30 July 2017, 12:27 | Christie Tate
Senators McCain Graham Discuss Opposition to'Skinny Repeal of'Obamacare
"3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down". All it takes is one deal to flip McCain, Murkowski or Collins, and the GOP would be back in business.
Less than two weeks after surgery to remove a blood clot revealed McCain had brain cancer, the Arizona Republican - still with a visible scar above his eye - traveled 2,000 miles from Phoenix and returned to a hero's welcome Tuesday in the Senate, where he delivered an epic 15-minute speech that rattled the conscience of the body. Republican leaders have been sending pieces of the legislation to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office to assess its impact and determine whether it complies with Senate rules. After complaining for seven years (in many ways incorrectly), that Democrats had abused the legislative process in the passage of the Obama health law, Senate Republicans made the Democrats look like pikers. It's not clear whether the White House will sanction bipartisan negotiations on health care, but it's hard to imagine that this issue is just going to melt away.
"If moving forward requires a conference committee, that is something the House is willing to do", House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement Thursday evening.
"From the beginning, I have believed that Obamacare should be repealed and replaced with a solution that increases competition, lowers costs, and improves care for the American people".
But leaders were encountering problems.
Trump administration officials have yet to say whether they will continue financing the subsidies past the end of this month.
"They are not looking for anyone to let Obamacare die", said Jeffrey Pollock, founding partner and president of Global Strategy Group, which conducted the poll. "Outsourced the whole issue to Congress".
Among other measures, it would also have cut federal funding to Planned Parenthood for one year and would have gotten rid of funding provided for a variety of public health programs.
"This is clearly a disappointing moment, " said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Asked about the political consequences for Republican lawmakers who did not get on board, or were perceived to not do enough, to get Obamacare repeal over the finish line, he replied, "Now is not the time to talk about future consequences". It's time to send legislation to the president that will finally move our country beyond the failures of Obamacare.
Conservative Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., who's running for a vacant Senate seat, suggested it was time for McConnell to relinquish his post.
"We have seen the world's greatest deliberative body succumb to partisan rancor and gridlock", McCain said in a statement.
The Republican-controlled Senate's middle-of-the-night effort to advance Obamacare repeal failed thanks to GOP Sens. Dean Heller, or a congressional run-said the health care vote didn't affect his decision-making. The last option on the floor was known as the "skinny repeal".
President Trump campaigned on a pledge to repeal and replace "the disaster that is Obamacare" - and Republicans have been doing their best to do this since he took office - but with little progress.
Both the House bill and the Senate's original bill would inject $422 million into community health centers - which care for 25 million low-income patients at more than 1,400 centers - for fiscal 2017. Some Republican senators had been concerned that the House would simply pass the "skinny bill" and send it to Trump. But just repealing the requirement would lead to a spike in premiums.
Gasps broke out around the Senate chamber early Friday morning as McCain walked to the dais and uttered "no" on the "skinny repeal" bill.
The Health Care Freedom Act would have repealed key GOP objections to the ACA, including the individual and employer mandates and the medical device tax.
"Hello, he only needed 51 in the health care bill and couldn't do it", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., helpfully reminded reporters.
Hours before the failed vote Trump tweeted: "Go Republican Senators, Go!"
The longtime Arizona senator stunned pretty much everyone Friday by turning on his party and his president and joining two other GOP senators in voting "no" on the Republicans' final effort to repeal "Obamacare".
But if McConnell's chief aim was to show he'd tried his darndest to pass an Obamacare repeal bill, that is something the leader appears to have accomplished.
On their own, the changes in the skinny bill could roil insurance markets. "The skinny bill is a vehicle to getting conference to find a replacement", Sen. Many Senate Republicans, however, previously rejected the House bill and wanted to start over.
Lobbyists said Republicans were also planning to include extra money for community health centers and waivers for states to permit insurers to sell policies with far narrower coverage than current law allows.
McCain Votes No, Derails 'Skinny Repeal' In Marathon Session
Mitch McConnell's tactical brilliance in dealing with health-care legislation doesn't mean he has a strategy for actual success. He said even the most conservative members will be reluctant to comment because of the uncertainty of what's to come.
McCain calls on both parties to work together
Then a so-called "vote-a-rama" begins, opening the floodgates for all senators to introduce as many amendments as they want. In his remarks Friday, McConnell said it will be "interesting to see what [Democrats] suggest is the way forward".
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Hassan calls for Democrats, Republicans to fix health care
But McCain , who helped kick off the " skinny repeal " process earlier this week, in the end drove the dagger through its heart. He urged a bipartisan approach that would "produce a bill that finally delivers affordable healthcare for the American people".