With a September 30 deadline looming, the Republicans in the Senate are making one, last-ditch attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) By most reports, this bill sponsored by Senators Graham, Heller, and Cassidy provides even worse coverage for the American people that their previous attempt at “ObamaCare Lite.” That bill failed because three Republican Senators, McCain, Collins, and Murkowsky voted “No.” As the Republicans hold only a 52 to 49 majority in the Senate, it only takes three Senators to stop any proposed legislation.
The September 30 deadline is significant because after that date the Republicans would need a 60 vote majority to pass the bill. This cannot happen without support from the Democrats. The GOP leadership is willing to push the bill through without hearings, or even a score from the Congressional Budget Office to determine the cost of the act, because they really don’t care what happens to the welfare of the American people. They just want to chalk up one – just one – legislative win.
So far, the only Republican Senator who has said that he would definitely vote “No” has been Rand Paul from Kentucky. That means it will need only two additional Republicans to stand up for the people they represent and put an end to this horrendous bill. There are still the three Senators who voted against the earlier bill. John McCain has said he voted “No” because he wants a return to “regular order” when considering legislation. That means scheduling hearings, listening to testimony from concerned witnesses, and considering possible amendments before sending the bill for a vote by the full Senate. There is definitely not enough time for this time-honored process to be followed before the end of the month.
Senators Collins and Murkowski have not yet said how they plan to vote on the bill. But if they had concerns about the healthcare options for their constituents before, they should be really worried about the new bill. Without going in to all the specifics, it will eventually eliminate Medicaid replacing them with block grants which states may or may not use as they see fit. It also allows insurance companies to charge enormous co-pays for people with pre-existing conditions. Many will be priced out of healthcare altogether.
There are still a number of Republican senators who have not committed on how they will vote. If you have one or two coming from your state, now is the time to call them and tell them to vote “No.” The healthcare of millions of Americans should be decided thoughtfully and thoroughly, as Senator McCain wants, and not rammed through without any consideration of the implications and havoc it could wreak. If they wish, the GOP leadership could return to regular order, hold hearings, listen to witnesses, and consider amendments for a new healthcare bill. That would be the responsible path to take. And they have until January, 2019 to do it. So why all the rush!
Perhaps the greatest legacy Senator McCain could leave the country he has served so honorably and so long will be putting the welfare of the people he was elected to serve ahead of scoring political points for a leadership team and a president who deserve neither respect nor consideration.