The GOP's attempt to peel back Obamacare failed, 49-51 in a vote that ultimately closed at 2AM.
Senate Republicans failed to pass a thinned down repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in an early Friday morning vote, as three members of the party broke ranks to cast against the “skinny repeal.”
Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and John McCain (R-AZ) all voted with the Democrats, setting back the Republican congressional agenda to repeal Obamacare.
McCain, who’d voted in favor of a motion to proceed to the bill earlier this week, spent most of Thursday holding out and criticized the partisan process that pushed the vote to well past midnight.
"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," McCain said in a statement.
"I sat there with Senator McCain. I think both of us recognize that it’s very hard to disappoint your colleagues," Murkowski said. "But I believe each of us stood up for the reasons that we felt were right."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who proposed the skinny repeal, lamented the vote’s result and appeared disappointed in the GOP’s inability to move forward on its 7-year promise to peel back Obamacare.
"This is clearly a disappointing moment," McConnell said. "Our constituents have suffered through an awful lot under Obamacare. We thought they deserved better. It's why I and many of my colleagues did as we promised and voted to repeal this failed law. We told our constituents we would vote that way. And when the moment came, most of us did."
While the GOP was attempting to come together on the legislation late Thursday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released an analysis of the skinny repeal, stating that 16 million would lose health insurance in 2018, and premiums would have risen 20% each year for the next decade.
While the Democrats did all they could to stall not just the vote on the skinny repeal, but all Senate activity, many GOP lawmakers stated a desire to vote the measure through just to get the conversation to negotiations with the House of Representatives.
“The skinny bill policy is a disaster,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said at a Thursday press conference. “The skinny bill as a replacement for Obamacare is a fraud. The skinny bill is a vehicle to getting conference to find a replacement.”
President Donald Trump reacted to the 49-51 decision early on Friday morning, tweeting, “3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!”
What comes next remains an uncertainty, but both parties have plans to move forward, as the potential collapse of some large insurance markets remains a looming threat.
Very little is left for the GOP to completely peel back the ACA, 7 years into the fight to repeal it. “It’s time to move on,” McConnell said.