The mood is tense on Capitol Hill today as the Senate just voted to officially scrap an Obamacare repeal bill. This officially ends a seven-year vendetta against Barack Obama’s health care reform, and comes as a huge blow to President Donald Trump.
Keep in mind the President had previously campaigned heavily on a promise to officially repeal-and-replace the Affordable Care Act. Many Trump supporters will be upset with the news, as it’s now impossible to fulfill this promise. It’s also a massive defeat for the Republican Party, as it’s clear they cannot function as a cohesive unit to achieve anything remotely concrete.
The details are still developing, but here’s what we know so far:
As we reported earlier in the week, the Senate voted to begin a continuous debate regarding health care reform in this country. The reason behind this is due to the fact the Republicans tried to pass a bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), which was scrapped because several senators refused to support it. So as a result, there’s a lot of pressure in the nation’s capital to come up with an alternative.
If you can remember, there were three viable options that could emerge from this lengthy debate.
- A partial repeal, keeping key aspects of the Affordable Care Act while replacing unpopular provisions
- A complete repeal, meaning they would scrap everything
- A repeal-and-replace strategy, which would involve drafting a new version of the BCRA, which would be approved by the Senate
On Wednesday, it appeared the Senate was leaning more towards option number two, a complete repeal bill without a possibility to replace Obamacare. Although, support quickly waned and as the week progressed, things were steering more towards a ‘skinny repeal,’ as the media coined it.
This would entail keeping the bulk of the Affordable Care Act, but just trim off certain aspects the Republicans didn’t like. But if we fast-forward to 2 am on Friday morning and some drama was stirring in the shadows.
Senators were voting to enact this ‘skinny repeal’ as a last ditch effort to achieve some sort of progress. The vote was essentially tied, and the entire roster of Democrats had voted against it.
Two senior Republicans named Susan Collins (of Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (of Alaska) voted against the bill, expressing their skepticism towards this watered-down version and the uncertain ramifications on the American people. However, the pivotal deciding factor came as Senator John McCain (of Arizona) shocked the entire chamber by voting down the bill and therefore ending the tiebreaker.
McCain was just diagnosed with brain cancer last week and had been the target of several malicious Twitter attacks by the President in the past, which included ridiculing his decorated military career and questioning his decision-making capabilities.
What does this mean for Americans? Well, essentially the Affordable Care Act remains intact, so the general population can reap the benefits for the next few years. For example, this means it’s still illegal for insurance companies to discriminate based on your previous medical conditions and your age.
There’s also some good news for individuals and families who rely on Medicaid, which provides health coverage to those who fall into a low-income bracket. The program will continue to receive funding from the federal government, meaning millions of impoverished Americans will continue to get access to clinics, hospitals, and dentists.
Politically, this is a disaster for Donald Trump’s presidency and the Republican Party, as they’ve failed to achieve anything substantial within the first six months of power.
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