In a dramatic moment, Sen. John McCain today came back from surgery and the war hero lectured his colleagues about playing politics. Then he, er, kind of played politics.
With his vote today, (and Vice President Pence breaking a 50-50 tie) the Republicans were able to set the stage for debate on whatever legislation they may want in their largely unfocused but determined effort to erase Obamacare, despite the potential of having millions of people losing their health insurance as a result.
McCain, indeed, is a heroic man, and he has not indicated whether he would support the GOP bills in a future vote. But the real GOP heroes on this day were Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who voted their conscience and against their colleagues for even continuing the process.
While President Trump grumped about their votes, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat called their collective actions acts of political courage, according to the Associated Press. Collins and Murkowski have expressed concerns about deep Medicaid cuts in the GOP bill and have called for bipartisan legislation, according to AP.
Of all the reactions today, the American Federation of Teachers, which represents 1.6 million employees, had one of the most significant – and telling – comments about the healthcare bill: what McCain receives, and deserves, in healthcare, and questions surrounding millions of other Americans. “Sen. John McCain is an American war hero who will get, and should get, the best healthcare our country can provide, ” the AFT said. “The debate about healthcare should be about ensuring all Americans have that same standard of care. That doesn’t start by repealing Obamacare.”
“As a result, we are deeply disappointed by the motion to proceed on a bill that would take away healthcare from at least 22 million people, hurt the vulnerable an others with pre-existing conditions.” – Joe Cantlupe