Here’s What McCain Told Trump Before Killing Obamacare Repeal

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona called his Senate colleagues’ campaign to repeal and replace Obamacare this summer “insanity,” and told President Donald Trump he was “sorry” he could not vote the party line, Esquire reports.

Trump, much like he did with other senators, called McCain to try to get him to vote yes for the Senate’s eleventh-hour bill to repeal Obamacare in late July, known as the “skinny repeal.”


“I thank you, Mr. President, for your involvement,” McCain told Trump minutes before he shot down the party’s last attempt to overhaul Obamacare. “I cannot vote for something called Skinny Repeal. I can’t do it. I didn’t even see the bill until today. I mean, this is insanity. I appreciate the call and now I have to go vote, and I’m sorry.”

The skinny repeal died in a contentious 51-49 vote, with McCain, along with GOP Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, voting no.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn told reporters before the Senate even released the text of the legislation that he did not believe the bill had a chance of becoming law.

The skinny repeal was Senate leadership’s last push to repeal Obamacare, and it was expected to simply be a vehicle to get to a conference with the House. The bill was never meant to be anything but a way to get something to Trump’s desk for approval.

Senate Republicans have moved on to tax reform, and the likelihood of successfully passing a bill that repeals and replaces Obamacare in 2017 looks rather low. Congress must deal with the budget in December along with a host of other legislative issues.

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