MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The latest Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act is once again crumbling. Monday night, a third GOP Senator, Susan Collins of Maine, is voting no. Dealing the measure a potentially fatal blow.
"It would have a negative impact on millions of Americans who are now insured," Collins said. "I have to do what I think it right for the people of Maine, and the people of this country."
Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders squared off against the GOP sponsors senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy in a national health care debate Monday night.
Republicans made the promise for seven years to repeal Obamacare and replace it. A promise they have so far failed to keep, despite a Republican House and Senate and a Republican president.
Protest erupting in Washington ahead of the only Senate hearing on the Graham-Cassidy bill. Demonstrators in wheelchairs arrested and physically carried from the Senate hallways and hearing rooms. Monday night in a nationally televised CNN debate, top U.S. senators including Klobuchar clashed over repealing Obamacare, which polls now show most of America wants to keep.
"I believe politics is about making people's lives better. But this bill? It doesn't do that," Klobuchar said. "It kicks millions of people off insurance. It raises the premiums. It basically passes the buck to the states, but doesn't give them the bucks to cover people."
"This is a debate about who has the power. Is it you, the patient? Or is it the federal government?" Cassidy said. "The narrative on the other side is that you don't have the capability to care for yourself. That your governor's corrupt, scheming to take away your protections if you have a preexisting condition."
Earlier Monday the Minnesota Department of Health released figures showing under the current bill the state would lose almost $37 billion dollars in health care funding by 2030. And state officials estimate more than 200,000 people or more could lose their Medicaid insurance coverage.
Right now it appears there isn't enough support to repeal, let alone replace. Graham said Monday night he thinks there ought to be a vote, and that the Senate should press on no matter what. The president is said to be trying to turn no votes to yes. but he was in a taunting mood on Twitter tonight.
During the debate, the president attacked Sen. John McCain, who is fighting brain cancer, and whose no vote will very likely help kill this plan. The president posted numerous clips of McCain promising to repeal Obamacare. McCain's best friend Graham appeared offended.
"To any American who's got a problem with John McCain's vote, all I can tell you is that John McCain was willing to die for this country and he can vote any way he wants to, and it doesn't matter to me in terms of friendship," Graham said.
The vote on the Graham-Cassidy bill will probably take place within the next couple of days, and if it fails, who knows where it goes from there?
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