When Sen. John McCain joined fellow Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine early Friday morning to cast a dramatic thumbs-down vote that torpedoed the Republican leadership’s bill to partially repeal the Affordable Care Act, he took the stand that we and millions of other Americans had been hoping for.
Stopping the Republicans’ quest to destroy Obamacare without offering anything but a hodge-podge cobbled together by only the Republican leadership was the right thing to do for Arizona and the nation.
In doing so, McCain matched his actions with the words he’d spoken on the Senate floor Tuesday, his first day back after being diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer. He lamented how poisonous, polarized and partisan the Senate had become and how important measures were pushed through without any input or support from the other party.
He owned up to being part of the problem — and appeared to reinforce that characterization by, on the same day, voting to open debate on the Republicans’ legislation, which had been written and revised in secret, without hearings, without educated debate on its content. McCain looked like a hypocrite and was vociferously criticized for, once again, saying one thing and voting for what he’d just railed against.
But, in the end, McCain joined Murkowski and Collins, who had come out against the leadership’s plans early in the process and have been lambasted by President Trump and other Republicans, but held firm. McCain is in excellent company.
A caution: Do not mistake McCain’s vote against the GOP’s repeal bill as a show of support for Obamacare. He has long opposed the Affordable Care Act and hasn’t changed his mind.
In a statement released Friday, McCain said he remains firmly against the ACA and how it came to be, but is clear that he wasn’t satisfied with the repeal plan that was on the table.
McCain’s statement continued: “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 the aisle, heed the recommendations of the 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.”
The fight for affordable and accessible health care for all Americans continues, and we hope McCain will continue to live up to his words.