Those familiar with Bernie Sanders platform know he’s long been an advocate for Single Payer healthcare, and thus was less than content by the GOP’s vote to advance debate on a healthcare bill that has yet to be proposed.
In a prime example of the degradation of what was once known as the “greatest deliberative body on earth,” Mike Pence case a tiebreaking vote to open debate on Obamacare replacement. And yet, no Obamacare replacement is on the legislative agenda. The Senate fail to pass the previous two iterations of so called Repeal and Replace – which would have thrown 23 and 22 million people off healthcare respectively – and they again failed last week to pass a straight repeal of Obamacare. The straight repeal proposal was pulled when three female GOP Senators, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Shelley Capito of West Virginia came out opposed.
With today’s passage, the ‘new’ proposal is now officially open for debate, despite the fact there’s nothing to debate.
Sanders took to Twitter to call out GOP Senators, retweeting a Vox article today titled “Senate Republicans don’t know what’s in their health bill or what it would do. They’re voting anyway.” The author of the piece tweeted out the article and added that the bill has no final text, no Byrd guidance (budgetary impact), no CBO score, and no public hearings. Sanders added his own caption.
“This is a disgrace. It is insulting. And it is undemocratic,” the Senator wrote.
It’s unclear whether the GOP Obamacare replacement, whatever it may end up looking like, will have the votes necessary to move forward. Senator John McCain, who flew across the country from a very serious operation to remove a tumor from his brain to vote on the measure, acknowledged this very fact.
“I voted for the motion to proceed to allow debate to continue and amendments to be offered. I will not vote for the bill as it is today. It’s a shell of a bill right now. We all know that,” McCain said in his speech to emotional fellow Senators happy to see him back in town.
Alas, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may run into the same problems he ran into during the first three attempts at repealing Obamacare. Moderates have made clear they aren’t going to vote for a straight repeal, and McConnell has thus far shown incapable of crafting legislation that pleases all factions of his party.
Regardless of the final outcome, today’s vote by GOP Senators to advance debate on a bill that doesn’t exist is shameful, as Senator Sanders correctly acknowledged.