Senate Healthcare Bill Fails Again

Before I get to the details of the latest Republican failure to pass a sickening "healthcare reform" that would kill people, I want to just take a moment to say: This rollercoaster is stressful as hell — and I am incandescently angry that the Republican Party is obliging us to spend our time and energy begging them not to take away our and/or others' health insurance, and that they are undermining people's health by inducing so much relentless stress, and that they are causing people to worry about whether they or their parents or their kids or their friends will have lifesaving access to healthcare, and that this entire fucking thing is a game to them while we are wrecked with anxiety.

I am angry that they are doing this to us, and I am angry that it is not over — because even if their half-assed legislation continues to fail and fail and fail, they will endeavor to ruin the Affordable Care Act to "prove" it was never any good. They will kill people for spite.

I am angry and I am sad. So profoundly grief-stricken that this is what the United States has become. It was never a perfect place, far from it, but this desperate, seething bile among the governing party to harm the nation's citizens in massive numbers, as directly as possible... It hurts. If it hurts you, too, know that you are not alone in this pain.

* * *

So, last night, at 1:30 in the morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called a vote on the latest iteration of Republican's healthcare bill, the "skinny" Obamacare repeal, and it failed.

It failed because two female senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, opposed it, and because John McCain also opposed it — and because every single Democratic Senator and both Independents opposed it.

A couple of observations about McCain's vote:

1. Again, McCain is being hailed undeservedly as a hero. Because he chronologically cast the final of the third Republican opposition votes, his is being called the "decisive" vote, which elides his two Republican female colleagues' opposition and the opposition of the entire Democratic caucus.

The New York Times' headline is "Senate Rejects Slimmed-Down Obamacare Repeal as McCain Votes No" and this is an actual paragraph from the coverage of the paper of record: "Senator John McCain of Arizona, who just this week returned to the Senate after receiving a diagnosis of brain cancer, cast the decisive vote to defeat the proposal, joining two other Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, in opposing it."

That's a bit of a simplification. But sure. Giving white men credit they don't deserve has never had any bad consequences for this country, so why not?

2. Framing McCain as the hero of the hour also elides that he didn't cast his vote because he's had a change of heart on healthcare.

To underline the point: This still isn't over, and we still can't trust McCain.

Donald Trump is doubling down on his vow to undermine Obamacare. Mike Pence will be on the warpath. We are being governed by men of breathtaking malice, so whatever relief this brings will be short-lived. That's the reality.

And I wish I had better news than that.

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