Senate Republicans failed to pass a healthcare bill Friday after three senators from the party voted against a “skinny” plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Sen. John McCain stunned the political world when he joined two other Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, in voting against the bill.
On the original motion to proceed, which kicked off 20 hours of debate on the healthcare plan, Collins and Murkowski voted no. McCain had voted in favour of the procedural motion.
Here’s the rationale each gave for their stance on the healthcare debate.
Going into the week, Collins had repeatedly expressed concerns about the healthcare bill, opposing plans to defund Planned Parenthood, which the Senate’s “skinny” bill would have done for one year.
Ahead of the vote, Collins expressed concerns with how the debate was going and why she couldn’t support the “skinny” bill.
“While I support many of the components of this plan, this approach will not provide the market stability and premium relief that is needed,” she said in a statement Thursday. Collins argued that a better approach would be to come up with a bipartisan idea.
“The ACA is flawed and in portions of the country is near collapse,” she added. “Rather than engaging in partisan exercises, Republicans and Democrats should work together to address these very serious problems.”
Collins voted “no” on all three healthcare plans proposed by the Senate GOP.
Murkowski has had concerns about the Senate’s repeal-and-replace plan. She supports the federal expansion of Medicaid and keeping funding for Planned Parenthood. She said she voted against the motion to proceed because based on her commitment to “the process.”
“I have said pretty consistently that process really does matter, particularly when you’re dealing with something that is as direct and personal as health care, something that has an impact on one-sixth of the nation’s economy,” Murkowski told the Alaska Dispatch News.
Murkowski went on to oppose every healthcare plan proposed by the Senate GOP.
Unlike Murkowski and Collins, McCain’s stance on the healthcare debate was not entirely clear going into the vote Thursday night.
At a press conference, McCain, along with Sens. Lindsey Graham, Ron Johnson, and Bill Cassidy, demanded that the House give assurances that the bill wouldn’t become law if it passed in the Senate. House Speaker Paul Ryan later said he’d be “willing,” but in a statement released Friday, McCain explained that he voted no because the speaker’s statement didn’t go far enough. McCain also said that the “skinny” bill didn’t offer up a replacement plan. As he did earlier in the week, McCain urged both parties to work together.
“We should not make the mistakes of the past that has led to Obamacare’s collapse, including in my home state of Arizona where premiums are skyrocketing and health care providers are fleeing the marketplace,” he 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 aisle, heed the recommendations of nation’s governors, and produce a bill that finally delivers affordable health care for the American people. We must do the hard work our citizens expect of us and deserve.”
McCain voted in favour of the motion to proceed on the healthcare debate. On Tuesday night, he also voted “yes” on a version of the BCRA. But the next day he was one of seven Republican senators to vote against a repeal-without-replacement plan.
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