July 28 (UPI) — The Republican Party suffered a major loss after its “skinny repeal” of the Affordable Care Act failed to win enough votes to pass the Senate.
“We worked really hard to try to develop a consensus for a better way forward,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said during a speech on the Senate floor after the vote. “This is a disappointment – a disappointment indeed.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer took the floor to say that although Democrats succeeded in holding off a Republican-led repeal of the current healthcare law, the debate over how to proceed with the country’s healthcare system isn’t over.
We are not celebrating,” he said. “We are relieved that millions and millions of people who would have been drastically hurt by the three proposals will be able to retain their healthcare.”
He added: “Obamacare wasn’t perfect. But it did a lot of good things and it needs improvement.”
President Donald Trump took to Twitter to issue his response.
“3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!” he tweeted.
The specific contents of the bill voted on early Friday morning wasn’t delivered in detail to the Senate until 10 p.m. Thursday night.
What McConnell gave the Senate to vote on was an eight-page bill called the Health Care Freedom Act.
The bill would have ended both the individual mandate that financially penalizes people who don’t have health insurance, as well as the requirement that employers of a certain size provide healthcare coverage options to employees.
It would have also delay a medical device tax and defund Planned Parenthood for at least one year, while increasing grants to community health centers.
In addition, health insurance companies would have no longer be required to provide a minimum standard regarding maternity care and prescription drugs.
A Congressional Budget Office analysis estimated that the bill would have increased the number of uninsured people in the U.S. by 16 million over the next 10 years.
In a statement regarding his “no” vote, McCain criticized the bill for how quickly it was pushed through the Senate.
“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,” he said. “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 healthcare providers are fleeing the marketplace.”