On Friday, Sept. 22, after days that felt like weeks with no official word, the Republica senator from Arizona, John McCain, announced he would vote against the Graham-Cassidy health care proposal. The Graham-Cassidy Amendment is the Republican's latest attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka Obamacare). With McCain's "no" vote, the bill appears to be dead on arrival in the Senate, with basically no chances of getting through, and tweets about McCain's Obamacare repeal vote prove people are happy about that.
The Graham-Cassidy Amendment comes from Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham. It's the GOP's latest push for repealing and replacing Obamacare -- and it's likely their last legitimate push for it for the time being. There's a deadline of Sept. 30 for them to pass a health care bill with a 51-vote majority. After Sept. 30, they'll need at least 60 votes -- which would mean getting Democrats to vote for it, which is a very, very, very slim shot.
This proposal from Graham and Cassidy would do several things, including eliminating the Medicaid expansion and getting rid of cost-sharing subsidies, tax credits, and the individual and employer mandate. It would also take away protections for pre-existing conditions, so states could decide if they'd let insurers charge more for people with pre-existing conditions. Those are all a whole lot of words to say "it would be bad for a lot of people." Graham-Cassidy has been widely panned by health organizations, including the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Health Insurance Programs, the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, AARP, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the American Psychiatric Association, and others.
McCain's disapproval, however, derives more from the lack of legitimate procedural process in getting this bill through than the potential personal, financial, and medical effects of it. This is similar reasoning to his vote against the Republicans' July "skinny repeal" health care proposal. McCain said in a statement about his Graham-Cassidy vote on Friday,
Health care reform legislation ought to be the product of regular order in the Senate.
You can see the full statement here:
McCain added in his statement that he "cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal." He said,
I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats and have not yet really tried ... I take no pleasure in announcing my opposition.
The senator explained that Graham and Cassidy are his "dear friends," and he knows they're acting "consistently with their beliefs and sense of what is best for the country." Still, McCain would vote against it because he's working with his own beliefs and sense of what is best for the country.
The Republicans have 52 people in the Senate. With McCain voting against the bill -- as well as Senator Rand Paul, who already announced his vote, the prospects are bad for the success of the newest repeal and replace bill. Added to McCain and Paul's definite "no" votes, there are possible "nos" from Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, who voted against previous iterations of repeal and replace.
McCain's announcement brought people to Twitter to cheer him on and thank him for his vote.
Jimmy Kimmel, who has been vocal about his disapproval of this bill, also thanks McCain.
Given that McCain's vote on the "skinny repeal" was even more dramatic than this reveal, some took to Twitter to groan at the senator's theatrics.
And on the other side of the line, many Republicans complained that McCain was acting more like a Democrat than a Republican.
Meanwhile, lots of people are itching to see President Donald Trump's reaction to this news.
I'm standing by for that response, too. I'm sure it will be totally normal and not-at-all unhinged.