Senate GOP’s Trumpcare Bill Fails Spectacularly With New Defections

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX), speak to reporters about Obamacare repeal on July 18. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)
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After pushing through—on a narrow, party-line vote—a motion to proceed to debating various plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act on Tuesday afternoon, Republicans brought their first plan up for a vote late Tuesday night, only to watch it fail 43 to 57 in a procedural vote.

Nine Republicans joined with Democrats to kill the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA): Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Susan Collins (R-ME), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Rand Paul (R-KY), Bob Corker (R-TN), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Dean Heller (R-NV).

 

Scathingly dubbed “Trumpcare 3.0” by Democrats, the bill was the Senate’s stab at crafting a replacement of the Affordable Care Act. It would have gutted more than $700 billion from Medicaid and sharply cut the tax credits available for low income people to buy health insurance.

The bill included a controversial provision drafted by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) that would allow insurers to offer plans off of Obamacare’s exchanges that don’t cover basic care like doctor’s visits and prescription drugs. The provision was never scored by the non-partisan CBO, and a glowing analysis of it by the Department of Health and Human Services was found to be seriously flawed. The policy was originally drafted to keep the skimpy plans and comprehensive plans in a single risk pool, but Cruz told reporters Tuesday that he was tweaking it to have two separate risk pools to win over Lee’s vote. Lee voted against the bill anyway.

Just before the vote, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) railed against the Cruz amendment, warning it would create “a tale of two health systems in America.”

“The young and healthy are going to opt for the bare-bones insurance plans that don’t cover much of anything. But there are millions of people in this country who cannot get by with skimpy Cruz plan insurance. They’re suffering from cancer or diabetes. They’re recovering from a car accident. But the coverage they need would come with an astronomical price tag.”

Because the Cruz amendment and several other pieces of the bill were dinged by the Senate parliamentarian for not meeting the rules of reconciliation, the bill would have needed 60 votes to pass the Senate. But it not only lost the votes of every Democrat in the Senate, several Senate Republicans also defected.

Collins, who voted down both the motion to proceed and BCRA, complained to Politico on Tuesday that GOP leadership had only given lawmakers little time to read a nearly 200-page bill before having to cast their vote.

“That is major policy and we’re going to have potentially an hour and a half to read through that many pages?” she asked.

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Notable Replies

  1. Unless I’m missing something, the heroic lion of the Senate John McCain voted in favor of this grotesque abortion of health care legislation. JMFC what a fraudulent poser asshole.

  2. Was this a vote on the bill or a vote to cross the 60 vote threshhold? If the former, Capito, Portman and McCain all voted to gut Medicaid, didn’t they?

  3. Just coming on here to mention that. He specifically said less than 8 hours ago that he was voting against this bill? Did the tumor make him forget?

  4. https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/gop-leaders-press-ahead-with-health-care-vote-in-hopes-of-sustaining-repeal-effort/2017/07/25/2525470c-7126-11e7-8839-ec48ec4cae25_story.html?utm_term=.970360d32726

    Fifty-seven senators opposed the measure known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), while 43 supported it, portending a difficult road ahead for the GOP rollback effort.

    McCain took to the floor after voting to move ahead and declared, “I will not vote for the [BCRA] as it is today. It’s a shell of a bill right now.”

  5. OK can the pundits stop with the “his vote was not near as important as his words after” when it comes to Senator McCain. Yes he spoke passionately about “regular order” and “in the open” after his YES vote on a motion to proceed on legislation to kill the ACA, the signature legislation of the man that beat him in 2008, but then he voted YES again on the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Derived in that irregular order and not inf the open. Can we please stop citing the just side of McCain’s duplicity we like to associate him with?

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