NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

Trumpcuts defeated again as John McCain casts decisive vote against “skinny repeal”

Mil­lions of Amer­i­cans have once again won a reprieve from los­ing their health­care cov­er­age after the nar­row fail­ure of Mitch McConnel­l’s lat­est scheme to evis­cer­ate the Patient Pro­tec­tion Act in the Unit­ed States Senate.

By a vote of fifty-one to forty-nine, the Sen­ate reject­ed McConnel­l’s Amend­ment No. 667, the lat­est iter­a­tion of Trump­cuts. Amend­ment No. 667 would have gut­ted some key pro­vi­sions of the Patient Pro­tec­tion Act, includ­ing the indi­vid­ual man­date and one of the law’s fund­ing sources. The New York Times explains:

The so-called “skin­ny” repeal bill, as it became known at the Capi­tol this week, would still have broad effects on health care. The bill would increase the num­ber of peo­ple who are unin­sured by 15 mil­lion next year com­pared with cur­rent law, accord­ing to the non­par­ti­san Con­gres­sion­al Bud­get Office. Pre­mi­ums for peo­ple buy­ing insur­ance on their own would increase by rough­ly 20 per­cent, the bud­get office said.

The new, eight-page Sen­ate bill, called the Health Care Free­dom Act, was unveiled just hours before the vote. It would end the require­ment that most peo­ple have health cov­er­age, known as the indi­vid­ual man­date„ but it would not put in place oth­er incen­tives for peo­ple to obtain cov­er­age — a sit­u­a­tion that insur­ers say would leave them with a pool of sick­er, cost­lier cus­tomers. It would also end the require­ment that large employ­ers offer cov­er­age to their workers.


The “skin­ny repeal” would delay a tax on med­ical devices. It would also cut off fed­er­al funds for Planned Par­ent­hood for one year and increase fed­er­al grants to com­mu­ni­ty health cen­ters. And it would increase the lim­it on con­tri­bu­tions to tax-favored health sav­ings accounts.

In addi­tion, the bill would make it much eas­i­er for states to waive fed­er­al require­ments that health insur­ance plans pro­vide con­sumers with a min­i­mum set of ben­e­fits like mater­ni­ty care and pre­scrip­tion drugs. It would also elim­i­nate funds pro­vid­ed by the Afford­able Care Act for a wide range of pre­ven­tion and pub­lic health programs.

McConnell was able to per­suade Dean Heller of Neva­da, Ron John­son of Wis­con­sin, Shel­ley Moore Capi­to of West Vir­ginia, and sev­er­al oth­er waver­ing mem­bers of his cau­cus to back his lat­est attempt to ram Trump­cuts through the U.S. Sen­ate. McConnell has been des­per­ate­ly try­ing to get some form of repeal bill through the Sen­ate to give Don­ald Trump a leg­isla­tive victory.

But in the end, he could not get to fifty votes.

John McCain cast the deci­sive “nay” vote that doomed the evil “skin­ny repeal” iter­a­tion of Trump­cuts, join­ing Lisa Murkows­ki and Susan Collins in break­ing with the Repub­li­can cau­cus. Only two days ago, it was McCain who pro­vid­ed the piv­otal fifti­eth vote need­ed for McConnell to res­ur­rect Trump­cuts. With his vote tonight, the demon is back in the bot­tle, so to speak, at least for the time being.

“From the begin­ning, I have believed that [the Patient Pro­tec­tion Act] should be repealed and replaced with a solu­tion that increas­es com­pe­ti­tion, low­ers costs, and improves care for the Amer­i­can peo­ple,” said McCain.

“The so-called ‘skin­ny repeal’ amend­ment the Sen­ate vot­ed on today would not accom­plish those goals. While the amend­ment would have repealed some of [PPA’s] most bur­den­some reg­u­la­tions, it offered no replace­ment to actu­al­ly reform our health care sys­tem and deliv­er afford­able, qual­i­ty health care to our cit­i­zens. The Speak­er’s state­ment that the House would be ‘will­ing’ to go to con­fer­ence does not ease my con­cern that this shell of a bill could be tak­en up and passed at any time.”

McConnel­l’s bit­ter­ness was on full dis­play. The Ken­tucky sen­a­tor could bare­ly bring him­self to look at his Demo­c­ra­t­ic colleagues.

“This is clear­ly a dis­ap­point­ing moment,” McConnell said as Amer­i­cans watch­ing on tele­vi­sion all over the coun­try rejoiced in his lat­est fail­ure to take away the health­care of mil­lions. “Yes, this is a dis­ap­point­ment. A dis­ap­point­ment indeed.”

For him, maybe. Not for us. This is anoth­er vic­to­ry for our patri­ot­ic resistance.

Democ­rats expressed great relief that Trump­cuts had been thwart­ed again.

“We’ve stopped this attack on health care, yet again. Thank you @PattyMurray and @SenatorCantwell for stand­ing up for the Ever­green State,” tweet­ed Wash­ing­ton Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee, who, like many of us, stayed up to watch the vote.

“Tonight, the voic­es of mil­lions of Amer­i­cans were heard. Your sto­ries, your phone calls, your emails, your advo­ca­cy, and all of your hard work paid off. Tonight, we were able to pro­tect Med­ic­aid, pro­tect the Afford­able Care Act, and pre­serve cov­er­age for mil­lions of Amer­i­cans,” said Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell.

“Now we must chart a path to progress.  We need to find bipar­ti­san solu­tions, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the indi­vid­ual health insur­ance mar­ket, to dri­ve down costs, increase access, and inno­vate in the health care deliv­ery system.”

The roll call from the Pacif­ic North­west on Amend­ment 667 was as follows:

VOTING AYE: Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Mike Crapo and Jim Risch (ID), Steve Daines (MT), Dan Sul­li­van (AK)

VOTING NAY: Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Pat­ty Mur­ray and Maria Cantwell (WA), Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden (OR), Jon Tester (MT); Repub­li­can Lisa Murkows­ki (AK)

The vote on Amend­ment 667 was iden­ti­cal to the vote to advance Trump­cuts on Tues­day, with the excep­tion of John McCain’s “nay” vote.

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One Comment

  1. McCain is a man with­out a coun­try. He should have vot­ed right in the first place. He would then have deserved hon­or for putting coun­try before party.

    # by Mike Barer :: July 28th, 2017 at 7:08 AM
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