John McCain and the failed “Skinny” repeal of Obamacare

Jul 28, 2017 (0) comment

In the early hours Friday morning, the republican controlled senate was unable to attain enough votes for the “skinny” repeal of Obamacare.  Needing 51 votes to pass the bill, republicans were only able to gain 49.  Senators Susan Collins of Main, Lisa Mukowski of Alaska, and John McCain of Arizona were the 3 votes that sunk the senate votes needed to repeal Obamacare.  The vote came down to 1:30 am EST where John McCain entered the chamber and officially voted “no”, shocking many republicans. 

Watch the exact moment when John McCain voted “no” below:  

skinny repeal of obamacare

Why did John McCain vote “no” on the “skinny” repeal of Obamacare?

John McCain was concerned over the lack of transparency with the “Skinny” repeal itself.  He expressed doubt on the bill before it was ever voted on, days before, on July 25th,

“We’ve tried to do this (repealing Obamacare) by coming up with a proposal behind closed doors in consultation with the administration, then springing it on skeptical members, trying to convince them it’s better than nothing, asking us to swallow our doubts and force it past a unified opposition,” McCain said. “I don’t think that is going to work in the end.”

The process in which the “skinny” repeal of Obamacare was released only validates his concerns.  The bill was not released for review until 10 PM on the 26th of July, the CBO scored the bill at 12AM on the 27th, John McCain voted “no” at 1:30 AM.  Democrats and Republicans roughly had a few hours to review, and vote on, a bill that could potentially leave millions of people uninsured. 

What is the “skinny” repeal of Obamacare?

The official name of the repeal bill is called the Healthcare Freedom Act.

This is what republicans proposed in the bill:

  • The individual mandate would be repealed.  Individuals would no longer be required to purchase a health insurance plan. Under Obamacare, the law was created to keep younger, healthier individuals in the marketplace to help pay the premiums of the sick clients. 
  • The employer mandate would be rolled back.  Companies would no longer be forced by law to provide their employees with health insurance.
  • States would be able to waive certain provisions under Obamacare
  • There would no longer be taxes on medical devices
  • HSA (Health Savings Accounts) would be allowed to increase their contribution limits
  • Planned Parenthood would be defunded fo one year. 

Two hours after the release of the Healthcare Freedom Act, The Congressional Budget Office declared that an estimated 16 million more Americans would be uninsured by 2026.  Premiums would also increase by roughly 20 percent between 2018 and 2026 for those who have insurance. 

After the repeal of Obamacare failed, what is next for republicans and the US?

Unfortunately, it does not look good.  More and more insurers are pulling out of health insurance markets across the United States due to loss revenue.  President Trump does not seem interested in helping save Obamacare markets.  Currently, the federal government pays subsidies to insurers to help cover the costs of insuring high risk clients.  President Trump has told many in his camp that he wants to end subsidies to help the repeal of Obamacare.  A tweet released shortly after the lost vote further cement these concerns:

repeal of obamacare

If President Trump decides to not pay the subsidies, even more insurers will leave marketplaces throughout the United States.  Regardless if the subsidies will or will not be paid, unless there is a change in policy, more insurers are likely to leave more marketplaces. 

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