Monday, July 17, 2017

Senator McCain out for two weeks puts the Senate Better Care Act at risk of failing

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Senate will delay consideration of the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017while Senator John McCain recovers from surgery for removal of a blood clot above his left eye.

McConnell said that the Senate will work on other legislative issues and nominations next week and will defer consideration of the Better Care Act while McCain is recovering. McCain's absence would have imperiled the bill, which needs the support of 50 of 52 GOP senators to advance.

Senator McCain is not happy with the Senate health care bill. He is one of more than half a dozen undecided Republicans. Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky have said they will not support a motion to proceed to floor debate on the legislation.

It’s reported that Senator McCain could be out for two weeks following his surgery for a blood clot in his left eye, which puts the bill at risk of failing. "A two-week McCain absence would put a vote during the first week of August. That’s a long time for this bill to linger. This timeline means the House would likely be forced back into session in August," according to Politico.

“In June, his somewhat confused questioning of James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, led to concerns about his mental status, which he later jokingly dismissed by saying he had stayed up too late watching baseball the night before. ‘Usually, a blood clot like this is discovered when patients have symptoms, whether it’s a seizure or headaches or weakness or speech difficulties,’” according to the NY Times.

McConnell couldn't afford to lose McCain's vote. Two Republican senators Susan Collins and Rand Paul have said they won't even vote to bring the bill up for debate. McConnell has offered no timeline for when he plans to take up the bill again

But the longer this bill languishes the less likely it will be passed. Already a bi-partisan group of governors has opposed it, top insurance companies call it "unworkable," and the Congressional Budget Office is very likely to find that it shoves millions off health insurance.

McConnell has a razor-thin margin for error. One more Senator is the difference between millions of Americans losing health coverage.

Don't give up. We are close to defeating this once and for all.

By Phil Mattingly, Manu Raju and Steve Almasy