Bessie Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor, who created a global crisis when King Edward VIII of England abdicated his throne and married his beloved American once said, “You can never be too rich or too thin.”
Well, the slimmed-down GOP proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act proves that the duchess was wrong. The so-called “skinny” repeal, a sla dash offering from the secret chamber of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, was rejected after GOP Senators John McCain of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska joined every Democratic senator in the chamber to vote down the skinny repeal bill.
Why did John McCain vote to allow debate to go forward on the bill and then vote against his party’s own proposed bill to repeal the ACA or Obamacare? Could it be that he just wanted to be in the thick of the spectacle for the sake of drama?
The Arizona senator, who has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, returned to the chamber and cast a decisive vote to open the debate on the GOP’s skinny repeal bill but then voted against the actual proposed repeal bill because the proposal does not “actually reform our healthcare system” and does not “deliver affordable, quality healthcare to our citizens.”
The effect of the proposed legislation on the American people does not trouble Mitch McConnell and it seems to have no place in the thought process of Donald Trump. However, the way this will hurt or imperil the health of Americans is the thing every responsible leader should think about before casting a vote to change the ACA.
John McCain properly described the proposed legislation as a “shell of a bill” and he knows that just because Mitch McConnell oozes assurances that the bill will get fixed up down the line is not enough of a reason to approve a very imperfect proposal that was crafted in secret and never debated in earnest.
In the past, John McCain had criticized the ACA or Obamacare because it was “rammed” through Congress on a party-line basis without a single Republican vote by Democrats when they were in control of the legislature. Now that the GOP is in control of both chambers, he was compelled to return to the Senate and be the voice of reason amidst ideological chaos.
He stood up and represented Arizona and all of America when he cast his vote against the bill. Senator McCain said, “We must now return to the correct way of legislating and send the bill back to committee, hold hearings, receive input from both sides of the aisle, heed the recommendations of the nation’s governors, and produce a bill that finally delivers affordable health care for the American people.”
All that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could muster was, “This is clearly a disappointing moment.” That is an understatement of monumental proportions. The GOP controls Congress and the White House but has not enacted any legislation of importance.
John McCain placed the needs of the people over the pride of the party. The Affordable Care Act which can be improved still provides health insurance to over 20 million Americans who were previously uninsured and Republican intransigence just assured that it will remain in place until the White House and the GOP leadership realize that there are better ways to move forward.