The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that repealing "Obamacare" without replacing it would cost more than 30 million Americans their insurance coverage, and that was a key factor in driving away more Republican senators than Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could afford to lose in the closely divided Senate. "The other Republicans who voted 'no" were Rep. Susan Collins of ME and Rep. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
The last-ditch effort came as senators voted 45-55 against a straight repeal of Obamacare, which provided for a two-year delay in implementation to give Congress time to work out a replacement.
"It's a disappointing moment", said McConnell, blinking back tears moments after the vote was final.
Just three days ago, Trump praised McCain as a fearless "American hero" for coming back to Washington from Arizona, where he had been recuperating from surgery, to take part in the healthcare legislative effort.
Senate supporters described the eight-page bill as a "vehicle" that would be fixed by the House-Senate conference committee.
"I've told our leadership that I wouldn't vote for the skinny bill believing that would be the only thing we do, because that would be a complete abdication of what we're trying to do", Graham said.
Like others Republican operatives, Shields said the party's ability to enact the rest of Trump's agenda - taxes, infrastructure and the border wall - could help "mitigate how upset people will be" about health care.
The measure that fell Friday was narrower and included a repeal of Obama's unpopular tax penalties on people who don't buy policies and on employers who don't offer coverage to workers. Far-right Freedom Caucus Republicans fought with less conservative Republicans (let's dispense with the notion that they're moderates, please) over exactly how many millions of people should have their health care stripped from them.
Graham said he anxious about rumors that House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who has been recovering from a gunshot wound but was released from the hospital this week, was considering bringing the narrow repeal bill up for a vote as is. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal.
At one point, McCain was sitting with his long-time ally, Sen. The House of Representatives passed dozens of repeal bills when the safety net of President Obama's veto made it meaningless, but once Republicans gained control of the White House and both houses of Congress - once it mattered - they couldn't agree on a solution.
Ryan had seemingly opened a path for McConnell by signaling a willingness to negotiate a more comprehensive bill with the Senate. We need a victory for the American people.
Healthcare industry organizations said the Republican proposal would be a disaster for insurance markets because individual mandates are considered to be critical in holding down the cost of premiums.
The AARP called it a "wolf in sheep's clothing".
During the debate that led to passage of the federal ACA, insurers flat-out said the plan would fail without an individual mandate.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) depart after the failure of the "skinny repeal" health care bill on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 28, 2017. Though Trump seemed to shrug it off and added that "we're going to get it done", the rejection is one of the worst legislative losses of his presidency.
"A skinny repeal would kick the can into a conference and get the process going", Johnson said.
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