US Senate fails to pass Obamacare repeal legislation
29 July 2017
Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, came to an ignominious end in the early morning hours of Friday as the US Senate voted to reject the Health Care Freedom Act. This supposedly scaled-down plan to replace parts of Obamacare was the third to be brought to the floor and voted down over the past three days.
The final vote took place at around 1:30 a.m., ending in a 49–51 defeat for the Senate Republican leadership and the Trump administration. Three Republican senators voted against the measure: Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and John McCain of Arizona.
McCain, who had returned to Washington on Tuesday, despite a recent brain cancer diagnosis, to cast the deciding procedural vote to open discussion on the Republican legislation, provided the deciding vote again Friday morning, this time to quash, at least temporarily, Republican efforts to repeal and replace the ACA.
The House bill passed in May, the American Health Care Act, and the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act, along with various iterations of the two, had at their center not simply the repeal and replacement of the ACA, but the destruction of Medicaid as a guaranteed government benefit based on need.
The House and Senate plans proposed to cut between $756 billion and $880 billion over a decade from the social insurance program for the poor, elderly and disabled, which is jointly administered by the states and federal government. They would have also thrown 14 million to 19 million people off the Medicaid rolls. This would be achieved by imposing block grants or per-capita caps on Medicaid funding to the states.
The secrecy surrounding the…