(CNSNews.com) - Sen. John McCain (R.-Ariz.) announced today that he would vote against the Graham-Cassidy health-care bill that the Senate is preparing to vote on next week in a last ditch effort to at least partially repeal the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare).
McCain's decision is likely to kill the Graham-Cassidy bill because it is already opposed by Sen. Rand Paul (R.-Ky.)--because it does not go far enough in repealing Obamacare--and Sen. Susan Collins (R.-Maine) said today she is "leaning against" it. With three Republican defections, it would have only 49 votes in the Senate.
In his statement announcing his opposition to the bill, McCain demanded that whatever replaces Obamacare must be a product of "bipartisan consensus."
This sharply contrasts with Sen. Paul's declaration in an op-ed published two days ago by FoxNews in which he says Graham-Cassidy is not really a bill to repeal Obamacare but is another "Obamacare Lite" bill.
"As I have repeatedly stressed, health care reform legislation ought to be the product of regular order in the Senate. Committees of jurisdiction should mark up legislation with input from all committee members, and send their bill to the floor for debate and amendment," said McCain. "That is the only way we might achieve bipartisan consensus on lasting reform, without which a policy that affects one-fifth of our economy and every single American family will be subject to reversal with every change of administration and congressional majority."
"We should not be content to pass health care legislation on a party-line basis, as Democrats did when they rammed Obamacare through Congress in 2009," said McCain.
"I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal," said McCain. "I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried."
(See McCain's full statement by clicking here.)
Rand Paul wrote in his op-ed cited key elements of Obamacare that Graham-Cassidy would not repeal.
"Make no mistake--Graham/Cassidy keeps ObamaCare funding and regulations in place," wrote Paul. "Oh, it rearranges the furniture a bit, changes some names, and otherwise masks what is really going on--a redistribution of ObamaCare taxes and a new Republican entitlement program, funded nearly as extravagantly as ObamaCare.
"Graham/Cassidy doesn’t repeal a single ObamaCare insurance regulation," Paul said. "All of the Title 1 rules, the Essential Health Benefit rules, all of them--they’re still in place here."
The Portland Press Herald quoted Sen. Collins on Graham-Cassidy: "I am leaning against the bill. ... I'm just trying to do what I believe is the right thing for the people of Maine."