Arizona Sen. John McCain, the Republican who delivered the final blow to the previous attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, came out against the Graham-Cassidy bill Friday afternoon, dealing the legislation a potentially fatal blow.
In a statement, McCain said the lack of regular order in crafting the legislation is what pushed him away.
“I would consider supporting legislation similar to that offered by my friends Senators Graham and Cassidy were it the product of extensive hearings, debate and amendment,” McCain said. “But that has not been the case. Instead, the specter of September 30 budget reconciliation deadline has hung over this entire process.”
“We should not be content to pass health care legislation on a party-line basis, as Democrats did when they rammed Obamacare through Congress in 2009,” McCain added. “If we do so, our success could be as short-lived as theirs when the political winds shift, as they regularly do. The issue is too important, and too many lives are at risk, for us to leave the American people guessing from one election to the next whether and how they will acquire health insurance. A bill of this impact requires a bipartisan approach.”
McCain’s opposition puts the bill on the brink of defeat. Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a fellow Republican, said Friday she was leaning against voting for it. Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has come out strongly against the legislation. Republicans can only afford two defections for the legislation to pass.
McCain also pointed to the lack of clarity surrounding future impacts of the bill if it were to become law. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office announced they would not be able to provide a full estimate of the bill’s impact by the September 30 deadline in which the GOP would try to bypass the Senate’s 60-vote threshold.
The longtime Arizona lawmaker also said he believes Sens. Bill Cassidy and Linsdey Graham were making a genuine attempt to fix what he believes is a broken healthcare system, but the process by which it was being conducted was not in accordance with how the upper chamber should operate.
“I hope that in the months ahead, we can join with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to arrive at a compromise solution that is acceptable to most of us, and serves the interests of Americans as best we can,” McCain said.
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