AP NEWS

Obamacare survives latest Republican repeal ax

September 29, 2017 GMT

Senate Republicans abandoned their latest attempt to repeal-and-replace the Affordable Care Act on Tuesday.

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), a lead author of the legislation, said: “Through events that are under our control and not under our control, we don’t have the votes.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said: “We haven’t given up on changing the American health care system. We are not going to be able to do that this week, but it still lies ahead of us.”

“We do think it’s time to turn to our twin priority, reforming the tax code,” he said.

While President Donald Trump and Republican leaders suffered another major political defeat, it was a victory for the American people.

The latest GOP health bill in the Senate would have unraveled the central elements of President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law, including the requirement for Americans to carry health insurance or pay fines. It would have allowed block grants to states to design systems with less federal control.

The bill would have replaced much of the “Obamacare” with federal block grants that would give states more leeway in spending the money and would have cut Medicaid. It would have allowed insurers to boost premiums on people with serious medical conditions.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office did not get the chance to complete a full analysis of the legislation, but many experts warned that millions of people would lose coverage under the Graham-Cassidy proposal, whose other sponsor was Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

The bill’s authors promised to try again at a later date after the Republican-controlled Congress failed in its latest attempt to fulfill a longtime goal of repealing the ACA.

Trump railed against “certain so-called Republicans” who opposed the GOP effort. He is referring to Senate holdouts John McCain of Arizona, moderate Susan Collins of Maine and conservative Rand Paul of Kentucky. Several other senators said they were skeptical of the bill, which GOP leaders tried to rush through the chamber in securing at least 50 votes for the legislation.

With the three known defections, the Graham-Cassidy measure fell one short of the required Senate votes and denied Vice President Mike Pence the opportunity to cast the decisive vote in the 50-50 split.

But for now, Trump and fellow Republicans who have vowed for seven years to abolish Obama’s signature health care law will leave it standing, and that’s a positive outcome for the American people.