Recently diagnosed with the most severe form of brain cancer, John McCain is making a dramatic return to Washington today to cast his vote to further debate in the Senate on the Obamacare repeal bill Republicans are desperate to pass.
While McCain and his family deserve the utmost sympathy in light of his truly awful diagnosis, he is risking his legacy by voting to take away health care for millions of people. McCain is almost certainly going to vote inline with his party and provide crucial help to Mitch McConnell by voting to begin debate on a potential health care bill. While still enormously difficult, this increases the GOP's chances of repealing and replacing Obamacare. McCain could always vote against the proposed Republican plan, but given he has voted inline with his party on almost everything, it doesn't appear likely.
It is hard to express just what a travesty this is. McCain doesn't have much time left on earth (those diagnosed with glioblastoma usually survive no more than 18 months), and it is a crying shame that he'll use that precious time to deny health care to millions of other Americans.
It is worth noting that under the Republican health care plans proposed to replace Obamacare, McCain would have likely either died or gone bankrupt due to his litany of preexisting conditions had he not been a wealthy United States Senator. McCain's tumor was discovered after having surgery for a blood clot -- a blood clot that was discovered during a routine physical. Before the ACA, millions of uninsured Americans did not get these types of check ups, check ups that have been greatly expanded under the Affordable Care Act. Trumpcare would do away with that expansion, meaning millions could go undiagnosed for treatable diseases. The CBO was not making a political analysis when they reported 22 million people would lose their health care and be at far greater risk of dying or going bankrupt from medical expenses -- they were projecting a realistic outlook on what would happen if Trumpcare were to pass.
McCain has expressed support for repealing and replacing Obamacare, but has maintained that he wants to see amendments to a GOP bill that would protect Arizona's Medicaid program. It is unclear whether he would buck his party if those provisions were not included, but again, his past record indicates he will almost certainly vote inline with his party. Obamacare has not been perfect in McCain's home state, but it has had tangible benefits for many -- particularly children and the poor. Voting to repeal it would be incredibly cruel, and a damning indictment on McCain's standing as an honest, decent politician with a history of working with Democrats to protect the environment and the most vulnerable Americans.
McCain's vote will be pivotal on the future of health care in America, and while he does not have long left himself, he can do enormous good for the millions who have benefited from the massive expansion of healthcare under the Obama administration, and stand to lose their futures should it be repealed and replaced.
If McCain does the right thing, his party may not forgive him, but the people whose lives he can save most certainly will.