GOP blame-game begins after Senate sinks health care drive; Capito votes yes, Manchin no

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican finger-pointing commenced after the Senate’s dark-of-night defeat of the GOP’s flagship effort to repeal much of the Obama health care law in a startling vote that dealt a blistering blow to President Donald Trump.

“3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down,” Trump tweeted early Friday after GOP leaders failed to patch party divisions and the Senate rejected a last-ditch bill to keep the effort alive. “As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!”

The “skinny repeal” bill — erasing several parts of President Barack Obama’s law — was rejected just before 2 a.m. EST on a vote of 51-49. All Democrats were joined by GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and the ailing John McCain. The 80-year-old Arizona senator made a dramatic return to the Capitol Tuesday after being diagnosed with brain cancer to cast a decisive procedural vote that for a time had advanced the legislation.

Following rejection of two broader GOP repeal plans earlier in the week, the early Friday vote cast doubt on whether divided Senate Republicans can advance any health bill despite seven years of promises to repeal “Obamacare.”

The measure that was defeated Friday would have repealed an Obama mandate that most people get health insurance and would have suspended a requirement that larger companies offer coverage to their employees. It would have also suspended a tax on medical devices and denied federal payments to Planned Parenthood for a year.

“This is clearly a disappointing moment,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, said. “I regret that our efforts were not enough this time.”

 

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) released the following statement after this morning’s health care vote:

“For years, I have listened to the concerns many in West Virginia have about Obamacare. Since the outset of this debate, I have clearly stated that we need to care for those who rely on health coverage and access through West Virginia’s Medicaid expansion. I have also fought for additional resources to help those who are combatting the devastating effects of the opioid epidemic. At the same time, health insurance premiums in West Virginia’s individual market have increased by 169 percent over the past four years, and action needs to be taken to lower premiums and expand consumer choice for West Virginians.

“I voted on Tuesday for a measure to repeal and replace Obamacare; however, it failed to pass. The failure to pass legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare does not change the need to fix our broken health care system. As we go forward, I stand ready to work with my colleagues on bipartisan solutions that result in affordable coverage and expanded options for West Virginians.”​

 

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) released the following statement on his vote against repealing the Affordable Care Act, which failed tonight in the Senate.

“Tonight the Senate rejected the partisan approach to repealing the Affordable Care Act. As I have said before, the only way to fix what is wrong with the Affordable Care Act is to work together in a bipartisan way to improve the system for all Americans. We gave millions of our neighbors the greatest wealth in healthcare and now we need to educate them on how to use it responsibly and efficiently. I remain committed to working with all of my colleagues – Democrats and Republicans – to ensure all West Virginians and Americans have accessible and affordable healthcare.”

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