Dead Again

The Senate on Friday rejected a new, scaled-down Republican plan to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, seemingly derailing the Republicans’ seven-year campaign to dismantle the health care law.

Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, cast the decisive vote to defeat the proposal, joining two other Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, in opposing it.

The 49-to-51 vote was a huge setback for the majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who has spent the last three months trying to devise a repeal bill that could win support from members of his caucus.

The truncated Republican plan was far less than what Republicans once envisioned. Republican leaders, unable to overcome complaints from both moderate and conservative members of their caucus, said the skeletal plan was just a vehicle to permit negotiations with the House, which passed a much more ambitious repeal bill in early May.

I’ve been following this vote closely, and it looked like a sure pass right up until they were scheduled to vote. McCain may have flipped back thanks to pressure from the Arizona governor. Whatever the case, McConnell has said it is time to move on and signalled he was willing to work with Democrats, to which Schumer agreed.

Breath easy, USians. Your health care system is safe for the moment. Well, safe-ish.