The Republican plan to repeal and replace Affordable Care Act is dead for now and, ironically, the people of America have a few Republican senators to thank for that.
After Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran and Utah Sen. Mike Lee effectively killed Better Care Reconciliation Act, the Senate GOP’s revised version of controversial American Health Care Act, aka Trumpcare, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decided to go ahead and push a vote to repeal Obamacare anyway — even though they had no other legislation to replace it with.
However, the straight repeal effort did not last long. In fact, the motion sank much rapidly than McConnell had probably even imagined after Republicans Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia) announced their opposition and refused to move forward with the plan that would have negatively affected millions of Americans.
Given that Republicans have 52-48 majority in the Senate and need at least 51 votes to win, they could only afford to lose two senators, as Vice President Mike Pence could have broken a tie by casting the final vote. However, with three of the five Republican women in the Senate opposing the bill, the repeal effort was as good as dead.
Interestingly, these women have a lot more in common than belonging to the same party and being, well, women: They were also not part of the initial secretive Senate committee that drafted the repeal-and-replace bill.
The group only consisted of 13 men, which explains why it was such a nightmare for women. Although they later invited Capito to join a meeting, she was not a permanent member.
“My position on this issue is driven by its impact on West Virginians. With that in mind, I cannot vote to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan that addresses my concerns and the needs of West Virginians,” Capito said in a statement, harshly adding, “I did not come to Washington to hurt people.”
My latest statement on the Senate health care bill & planned vote to repeal Obamacare: pic.twitter.com/yAVIxgptCu— Shelley Moore Capito (@SenCapito) July 18, 2017
Collins, who also voted against the same repeal legislation in 2015 during the administration of former President Barack Obama, also clarified why she wouldn’t vote to repeal the health care law with a replacement.
“I do not think that it’s constructive to repeal a law that is so interwoven within our health care system without having a replacement plan in place,” she said. “We can’t just hope that we will pass a replacement within the next two years. Repealing without a replacement would create great uncertainty for individuals who rely on the [Affordable Care Act] and cause further turmoil in the insurance markets.”
I will vote no on the motion to proceed to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement. I voted against this same proposal in 2015. pic.twitter.com/Szuke5zYNL— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) July 18, 2017
Murkowski encouraged the Republican leadership in the Senate to “take a step back and engage in a bipartisan process” to address the “failures of the ACA and stabilize the individual markets.”
“Repealing the ACA without a clear path forward just creates confusion and greater uncertainty,” she said in a statement.
My recent statement on the Senate Healthcare Process: pic.twitter.com/j19Ok1KwWw— Sen. Lisa Murkowski (@lisamurkowski) July 18, 2017
The irony of the fact that three women, who were not involved in the drafting process, tanked the Senate GOP’s effort to repeal Obamacare did not go unnoticed by the social media users.
Perhaps if Senator McConnell had included women in the Senate on health care committee, he would not have lost collins, murkowski, & capito.— Valerie Jarrett (@ValerieJarrett) July 18, 2017
As @asfram points out it's the revenge of the GOP women - Capito, Collins, Murkowski - all frozen out of the initial health working group— Erica Werner (@ericawerner) July 18, 2017
It was women--GOP Senators Collins, Capito, and Murkowski--who immediately stepped up and nixed vote to repeal Obamacare. Important.— Charles Clymer?????? (@cmclymer) July 18, 2017
Capito, Murkowski, Collins - 3 Republican women saying no to Repeal-only.— justin kanew (@kanew) July 18, 2017
Now we know why 13 GOP men wrote the bill in the dark.
I love that 3 intelligent Republican women killed a bill 14 Republican men drafted in-secret.— Michael Phillips (@wholeexpanse) July 18, 2017
Senate GOP didn't include women in secret health care process. 3 Republican women decided its fate anyway (Capito/Collins/Murkowski). Irony!— Adam Best (@adamcbest) July 18, 2017
Thumbnail Credits: Reuters/Carlos Barria