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Morning Briefing: Murkowski, Collins and McCain Saved Healthcare Last Night (Thank You)

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | July 28, 2017 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | July 28, 2017 |

Around 1:30 a.m., this morning, John McCain voted no on the Republicans’ last gasp effort to repeal Obamacare.

And that was it. The skinny repeal was dead. It was John McCain who put the nail in the coffin, but let’s never forget that it’s been Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins who have been standing over the coffin all along. As a constituent in Maine, thank you Susan Collins. Just fucking thank you.

Here’s how they reacted outside the Capitol last night:

And here’s how Donald Trump reacted:

I am not going to gloat about this, because I feel nothing but relief and gratitude this morning, and I also fear that gloating would just resurrect the corpse. My friend Pete, however, wrote this about Trump’s terrible, terrible day yesterday, and it’s worth repeating here:

Healthcare fails, Scaramucci explodes, Russian sanctions pass in the Senate and the House and sit on Trump’s desk to be signed AND the senate tells Trump that if he fires Sessions they won’t allow him to name a replacement.  What President has had a worse day? (No Kennedy or Lincoln jokes please.)

Seriously, it was a brutal day for Trump, who was mostly quiet on Twitter. I expect that will change this morning.

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As to why McCain voted no? Here’s his statement:
“While the amendment would have repealed some of Obamacare’s most burdensome regulations, it offered no replacement to actually reform our health care system and deliver affordable, quality health care to our citizens. The Speaker’s statement that the House would be ‘willing’ to go to conference does not ease my concern that this shell of a bill could be taken up and passed at any time.”

Murkowski and Collins are probably going to continue to catch hell from their Senate colleagues, from President Trump, and from the far right, but they’re heroes in their states. She’s not on the ballot again until 2020, but if Collins runs again, I’ll remember this.

As for the other 49 Republicans, never forget what they voted for here. It’s worth pointing out — and I didn’t fully realize this until this morning — that the Skinny Repeal would have ended the individual mandate, but it would not have ended pre-existing conditions. Do you know what that means? It means that every person in the country could have terminated their health care coverage and simply waited until they got sick to purchase it. That is insane. I mean: I might have ended my own health care coverage? Why? Because my family pays for 80 percent of our health care, and family plans are expensive as hell. Barring a catastrophic illness, it would be cheaper to pay for wellness and sick visits out of pocket, and if something terrible happened, we could just pick up an insurance plan, and insurance companies could not reject us for preexisting conditions. That’s why premiums would have shot up 20 percent next year.

It would’ve obliterated the health care industry, and it would have been catastrophic not just for poor people, but for middle class people, too.

And that’s what 49 Republicans voted for last night.

Finally, I leave you with Chuck Schumer, whose remarks were conciliatory (and not celebratory) after the defeat of the bill. It’s a really good speech.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.