McCain to Vote ‘No’ on Affordable Care Act Repeal Bill

(CN) – Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., announced on Friday that he will vote against the latest GOP effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal. I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried,” he said in a statement.

The bill, known as Graham-Cassidy, and sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, would eliminate Obamacare’s requirement that individuals buy insurance, end its expansion of Medicaid, and require every state to build their own health care system using a new federal block grant. It would also put new caps on Medicaid spending, which are expected to grow at a slower rate than under current law.

In the statement posted on his website, McCain said, “As I have repeatedly stressed, health care reform legislation ought to be the product of regular order in the Senate.”

“Committees of jurisdiction should mark up legislation with input from all committee members, and send their bill to the floor for debate and amendment,” he continued. “That is the only way we might achieve bipartisan consensus on lasting reform, without which a policy that affects one-fifth of our economy and every single American family will be subject to reversal with every change of administration and congressional majority.

“I would consider supporting legislation similar to that offered by my friends Senators Graham and Cassidy were it the product of extensive hearings, debate and amendment. But that has not been the case. Instead, the specter of September 30th budget reconciliation deadline has hung over this entire process,” McCain added.

McCain’s announcement leaves GOP leadership with no room for error. They need 50 GOP senators to support the legislation, and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has already said he will vote no. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, on Friday said she is leaning against the bill.

McCain’s announcement came hours after the non-partisan Brookings Institution released an analysis showing that if the GOP repeal bill passed, 21 million fewer people will have insurance by 2026.

Graham-Cassidy’s block grants expire in 2027. If Congress doesn’t act to replace them, the number of additional uninsured versus under current law would rise to 32 million that year, the analysis says.

The Brooking Institution report also has a bracing conclusion, its authors saying it “likely understates the reductions in insurance coverage,” because it doesn’t consider potential turmoil if states can’t enact a functional health care system by 2020, when they would transition from the Affordable Care Act to the new block grants. – Developing story.

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