John McCain says he voted to reject a so-called "skinny repeal" healthcare bill in the Senate because it would not "accomplish the goal" of effectively replacing Obamacare.
Issuing a statement, the senator said he dramatically voted "no" in the small hours of Friday morning because he did not believe in forcing through the changes without at least some Democrat support.
Here's Mr McCain's statement in full:
“From the beginning, I have believed that Obamacare should be repealed and replaced with a solution that increases competition, lowers costs, and improves care for the American people. The so-called ‘skinny repeal’ amendment the Senate voted on today would not accomplish those goals.
"While the amendment would have repealed some of Obamacare’s most burdensome regulations, it offered no replacement to actually reform our health care system and deliver affordable, quality health care to our citizens. The Speaker's statement that the House would be ‘willing’ to go to conference does not ease my concern that this shell of a bill could be taken up and passed at any time.
“I’ve stated time and time again that one of the major failures of Obamacare was that it was rammed through Congress by Democrats on a strict-party line basis without a single Republican vote. We should not make the mistakes of the past that has led to Obamacare’s collapse, including in my home state of Arizona where premiums are skyrocketing and health care providers are fleeing the marketplace.
"We must now return to the correct way of legislating and send the bill back to committee, hold hearings, receive input from both sides of aisle, heed the recommendations of nation’s governors, and produce a bill that finally delivers affordable health care for the American people. We must do the hard work our citizens expect of us and deserve.”
The defeat of the healthcare reforms dealt a serious blow to Donald Trump's reform agenda. Senate Republicans made clear that, unable to even pass the "skinny" version of their repeal bill, any kind of healthcare reform might prove impossible.
"This is clearly a disappointing moment," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. "I regret that our efforts were not enough, this time."
"It's time to move on," he said.
Mr McConnell put the health bill on hold and announced that the Senate would move onto other legislation next week.
Mr Trump responded on Twitter: "3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!"
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