On Thursday July 27th, the Senate once again failed to push through legislation that would allow for a partial appeal of the Affordable Care Act (aka. Obamacare). Surprisingly, the decisive vote that killed the so-called “skinny bill” came from an old adversary of former President Barack Obama, Senator John McCain of Arizona. Senator McCain, who has recently been diagnosed with brain cancer, cast a decisive and resounding “NO” vote on the bill, along with two other Republican Senators; Susan Collins of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

The bill, known as the Health Care Freedom Act, would have left 15 million more people uninsured next year, and would have eliminated funding to Planned Parenthood for a year, leaving millions of women without access to the care they need. The bill would have also 1.) repealed the individual mandate that many Americans must buy health insurance or pay a penalty; 2.) eliminated the employer mandate that requires businesses with a certain amount of workers to offer insurance to employees; 3.) make it easier for states to reject certain parts of the ACA; 4.) increase the amount of money that could go into health savings accounts; 5.) delay taxing medical devices; and 6.) increase funding for community health centers.


In the end, the bill was struck down 51-49. Failure of passage means that Republicans have two options: go back to the drawing board and come up with a new plan to fulfill their seven year promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act that will satisfy both the moderate and conservative wings of their party, or start courting Democrats to work out a compromise to modify the existing law.


Many on the left are celebrating the defeat of the Health Care Freedom Act. Senator Kamala Harris of California applauded those Americans who made their voices heard, and helped to prevent the passage of this bill. She is now hopeful that this will lead to Republicans being willing to come to the table for compromise. In a statement released on her Facebook page, Senator Harris states: “With this partisan process behind us, let’s embark on a new chapter of bipartisan health care reform focused on ensuring the best quality care for all Americans.”


Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was a bit more cautious in her reaction, stating on her Facebook page: “The nightmare is over - at least for today.”


Where does the Health Care debate go from here? Do Republicans and Democrats come together to modify the Affordable Care Act? Do Republicans go it alone and try to come up with another bill in the coming months? Or will the Affordable Care Act remain the law of the land as it is?

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