Tonight, by a narrow 49 to 51 vote margin, the Senate rejected the so-called "skinny repeal" amendment to the ACA. This legislation, if passed, would have removed the individual mandate to purchase health insurance, among other provisions of Obamacare. It was a last-ditch GOP effort to pass some kind of repeal, in order to satisfy 7 years of promises to their conservative base to do so, despite the overwhelming popularity of this healthcare program benefiting the general public.
Previously this week, both a repeal and replace bill, as well as a full repeal of Obamacare bill, also failed to garner enough votes, with a few Republican senators rejecting the legislation. The text of the rejected skinny repeal bill, titled the Health Care Freedom Act, wasn't released to the public until hours before the vote was to be cast. A CBO report on the cost estimated an impact of 16 million Americans who would lose their healthcare should it have passed, with the rest paying 20% more in premiums.
After 20 hours of debate, a roll call vote was agreed to. There was a long, anxious delay as last-minute conversations meant to sway their colleagues' decisions took place in the chamber. Finally, a motion to end the debate occurred, and the roll call started. As expected, GOP senators cast all the yes votes that were enumerated, with zero democratic defectors. But when the no votes were called, amongst them were three Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and John McCain, the ailing representative from Arizona. Senator McCain's vote in particular shocked his colleagues, and rendered Vice President Pence's tie-breaking vote moot.
Outside Congress, healthcare activists cheered after hearing about the results of the vote. On the Internet, citizens shared news of the failure of the repeal bill with great jubilation. People have been resisting the right wing threat to our healthcare system for months by organizing, communicating, and protesting. After dozens of failed GOP attempts to repeal Obamacare, it appears that we can finally stick a fork in it.
Here is the moment Senator McCain voted no. His vote was followed by gasps and hushed cheers. pic.twitter.com/eArg93ihG4
— Frank Pallotta (@frankpallotta) July 28, 2017
Tears, bear-hugs, whoops of jubilation, kisses, dancing, shouting, cheering, "Yes we can!" and "USA! USA! USA!" pic.twitter.com/VBLiPYd88G
— Jeff Stein (@JStein_Vox) July 28, 2017