Sen. John McCain announced Friday that he could not “in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal," the bill that would repeal much of Obamacare and replace it with block grants for the states. His decision greatly reduces the chances of passing the legislation, since the Republicans can afford to lose only three senators in a possible vote next week; Sen. Rand Paul has already announced that he opposes the bill, and Sen. Susan Collins is seen as a likely no.
McCain’s statement made it clear that he believes the Senate needs to return to “regular order,” its traditional way of debating and passing legislation. Here's a key quote, tweeted out by the senator: “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. 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."
The reaction was swift. Critics include Gov Mike Huckabee, who tweeted: “McCain sides with comics, Pelosi, Schumer, Bernie & Obama over GOP colleagues, @POTUS, & ppl hurt by ACA.” On the other side of the aisle, Topher Spiro of the Center for American Progress tweeted: “JOHN MCCAIN, AMERICAN HERO. I literally have tears in my eyes.”
While McCain’s decision likely puts an end to Graham-Cassidy, it’s important to note that nothing is certain yet; there’s still time for senators to change their minds ahead of the September 30 deadline, and more than a year to go until the next congressional election.