In a twist many were hoping for but few actually expected, Senator John McCain voted against the GOP's "skinny repeal" health care plan. The vote came around 1:30 a.m. ET on Friday, July 28. This was in the midst of an overnight "Vote-a-Rama" on health care.
Republican senators have been trying to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka Obamacare). After failing to make a health care plan that would get enough votes, they moved on to just slowly dismantling Obamacare. Rather than a full repeal, they went with a "skinny repeal."
The "skinny repeal" plan was presented by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday night, just hours before the vote on it took place. It's called the "Health Care Freedom Act."
That act takes away some key parts of Obamacare, including the individual mandate -- which says that people have to get health insurance -- and the employer mandate -- which says companies with a lot of employees have to provide them insurance. It also expands health savings accounts and delays a tax on medical devices. The GOP's plan would defund Planned Parenthood for one year.
With three no votes from the Republicans, however, the bill is blocked. The Republicans had enough room for two of their members to vote against the act. It was expected that Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins would vote against it, which they did, as they have been voting across party lines throughout the health care debacle.
Vice President Mike Pence came to the Capitol, assumedly to break a 50-50 tie. But with those no votes, there was no tie to break -- the Republicans lost one too many votes.
McCain made a dramatic return to Washington D.C. on Tuesday, July 25, when he voted to open discussions on repealing Obamacare. This return came a week after it was announced that he had been diagnosed with brain cancer. McCain was roundly criticized for his vote on Tuesday, with many saying it was ironic considering his own health condition.
Now, however, McCain is getting some praise for saying "no" to this bill.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that 16 million people would lose insurance under the "skinny repeal" plan by 2026. So by voting no, McCain -- along with Collins and Murkowski -- helped block that loss, at least for the moment.