GOP senators looking at another chance to repeal Obamacare after McCain's death
Republican senators are urging Arizona governor Doug Ducey to appoint a someone to replace Senator John McCain who will be a strong ally in another effort to repeal Obamacare.
McCain, whose vote sent the last Obamacare repeal effort down to defeat, died last week. Ducey needs to appoint a replacement to serve out the rest of McCain's term, and Republican senators are eying another attempt at repeal of the ACA.
"If we re-engage in that discussion in some point in the future, it would be nice to have members who enable us to pass it," Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune (S.D.) said when asked about the possibility of ObamaCare repeal legislation coming up for a future vote.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said he hopes the next senator from Arizona will be a "strong ally" who "recognizes that ObamaCare is not a proper solution."
"It hasn't worked, it's created a lot of harm and damage to real people," he added.
A senior Senate GOP aide said the chamber would "absolutely" vote again to repeal ObamaCare but cautioned it would depend on "if we keep the House."
"McCain was personally conservative but ideologically inconsistent," the aide said. "I think Ducey is going to pick someone more like himself. He's a more reliable conservative."
A repeal vote won't happen before the election and is doubtful in the lame duck session in December. Lawmakers are looking at 2019 as a target date for repeal legislation to come to the floor.
The attempt to repeal Obamacare is totally dependent on whether Republicans are able to maintain control of the House and Senate next year. The GOP looks in pretty good shape in the Senate, but House control is a toss-up at this point. Assuming that Republicans are able to hang on in the House, a successful repeal vote would be a big step for Trump's 2020 re-election bid. With Democrats touting the even more radical "Medicare for All" plan, the president could position himself closer to the center on health care – assuming Republicans craft some kind of health insurance reform plan that lowers the cost of premiums.
The party made Obamacare repeal a major issue in the 2016 election and didn't deliver. McCain wasn't entirely to blame, but his failure to vote with the majority nailed the lid shut on repeal. Now Republicans may get another bite at the Obamacare apple – something the GOP base would love to taste.