Battling brain cancer, John McCain sinks Trump plan for Obamacare repeal in midnight drama

And, three voted “No”.

In the dead of night, while America slept, Sen. John McCain, (R-Ariz), 80, recently diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour and publicly insulted by Donald Trump for not playing ball, skewered the US President’s most ambitious legislative agenda of repealing America’s first black President’s most enduring legacy on healthcare.

The final vote was 49-51 with 3 of Trump's own party gutting the move. Republicans Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine joined McCain in voting no.

Link: How #SkinnyRepeal was gutted - full voting session on video

Reporters chased McCain as he walked slowly out of the Capitol after a suspense-filled night. An 80 year old former POW stole the show that the Trump White House desperately wanted to win.

 Battling brain cancer, John McCain sinks Trump plan for Obamacare repeal in midnight drama

John McCain, bipartisan hero of the failed #SkinnyRepeal/ Screenshot from Twitter

Trump vented on Twitter early morning Friday: "3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!”

On the same platform, McCain said the Obamacare repeal bill "fell short of our promise to repeal & replace Obamacare w/ meaningful reform," and "I hope we can rely on humility, cooperation & dependence on each other to better serve the people who elected us.”

Here’s what was tucked away inside the #SkinnyRepeal. In a line, premiums (which have already gone through the roof) would have spiked 20% and 15 million more people would be uninsured next year than under the present Obamacare system. This number would balloon to 16 million or more in the next decade.

McCain released this statement soon after the repeal effort was gutted - basically rejecting any methods that attempt to push through legislation without getting inputs from both sides and following due process.

"From the beginning, I have believed that Obamacare should be repealed and replaced with a solution that increases competition, lowers costs, and improves care for the American people. The so-called "skinny repeal" amendment the Senate voted on today would not accomplish those goals. While the amendment would have repealed some of Obamacare's most burdensome regulations, it offered no replacement to actually reform our health care system and deliver affordable, quality health care to our citizens. The Speaker's statement that the House would be "willing" to go to conference does not ease my concern that this shell of a bill could be taken up and passed at any time.
I've stated time and time again that one of the major failures of Obamacare was that it was rammed through Congress by Democrats on a strict-party line basis without a single Republican vote. We should not make the mistakes of the past that has led to Obamacare's collapse, including in my home state of Arizona where premiums are skyrocketing and health care providers are fleeing the marketplace. 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 aisle, heed the recommendations of 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.”

In the best of times, aggressive brain tumours like the one McCain has been diagnosed with are tough to beat back. Fourteen months is an average time span patients are given and therefore, the irony of this McCain moment is lost on nobody.

It’s not everyday that you actually hear the collective gasp of politicians that’s audible on national live television. It’s the most tweeted, most headlined moment of the #SkinnyRepeal midnight show.

The Washington Post has a blow by blow account of how egos clashed and ideologies collided to dump Trump’s agenda.

“Democrats look positively giddy (several audibly gasp, while others clap). Schumer immediately waves at his caucus to stop celebrating”, the Post reports.

It took a Republican to say no to Trump’s pet plan. That the no came from a man diagnosed with a brain tumour is lethal.

That’s as far as the legislation goes.

For Trump’s politics though, there’s no looking back.

Even in the demise of Obamacare’s repeal, Republicans hog the headlines. With every passing day, the resistance is fading. Democratic Party? Who leads it anymore is unclear.

For readers from India who follow politics closely, the Trump map continues to expand across America just as the BJP is gaining ground across India. Yes, differences exist but directionally, it's the same thing. Modi's wins are both legislative and electoral, Trump is making little headway in legislation but his vote bank, by multiple accounts, remains strong. Both in the US and India, as of now, the Opposition has completely lost the plot.

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Updated Date: Jul 28, 2017 16:36:04 IST