The Arizona Republican says he 'cannot in good conscience' support the latest attempt by his GOP colleagues to ram through an Obamacare repeal that bypasses the budget scoring and committee process and makes no effort at bipartisan consensus.
The latest attempt to repeal Obamacare suffered a critical blow on Friday when Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) announced that he could not support the legislation.
“I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal,” McCain said Friday afternoon in a statement released by his office.
“I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried. Nor could I support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will affect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it,” McCain said. “Without a full CBO score, which won’t be available by the end of the month, we won’t have reliable answers to any of those questions.”
- McCain’s vote is seen a crucial for the success of the bill, and it’s not clear if Senate Republicans have the votes to proceed without his support as a Sept. 30 deadline for the bill nears. Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have indicated that they will vote against the bill.
- It’s the second time in two months that McCain, who has brain cancer, has broken ranks with his Republican colleagues and rejected their efforts to repeal Obamacare. On July 28, McCain shocked colleagues when he voted against the so-called “skinny repeal.”
- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who is good friends with McCain, issued a statement saying “I respectfully disagree” with McCain’s decision. “Obamacare is collapsing in Arizona, South Carolina, and across the nation - driving up premiums and reducing choices," Graham said. "I feel an obligation to fix this disaster and intend to push forward for state-centric health care versus Washington-knows-best healthcare.”
John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders.