Washington (AFP) – In a long career as a maverick Republican, it may have been John McCain’s defining moment.
Donald Trump and his Republicans had rejoiced when the cancer-stricken senator returned to Washington this week to vote on health care.
But the feisty elder statesman and long-time Vietnam prisoner of war — once a target of Trump’s scorn — ended up defying the president, helping kill off efforts to dismantle Barack Obama’s health care reforms.
With the plan hanging by a thread, Trump was acutely aware that McCain’s vote would be a deciding factor.
What he failed to predict was that the 80-year-old — in the twilight of his career — would stun the political world and side with Trump’s opponents, bringing the president’s campaign pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare crashing to the ground.
“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 the aisle, heed the recommendations of the nation’s governors, and produce a bill that finally delivers affordable health care for the American people,” McCain said.
“We must do the hard work our citizens expect of us and deserve.”
– Thumbs down –
Two days earlier, McCain had dramatically returned to Washington from Arizona, where he was recuperating after a brain cancer diagnosis, to cast one of the deciding votes to allow formal debate on health care to begin.
Then on Thursday, as the Republican effort to overhaul Obamacare hung in the balance, McCain spoke out about the bill’s faults, warning it offered no workable replacement and could cause health care costs to spike for million
McCain made clear he is no fan of the Affordable Care Act, telling reporters “the status quo is not satisfactory.”
But what Republicans were cooking up instead — a so-called “skinny repeal” of Obamacare that would end certain taxes and the law’s mandate for most individuals to have health insurance, but keep most reforms in place — was not the answer for the…