Marking what Senate Democrats called a new low in politics, a Republican senator on Thursday advanced a plan to insure all Americans—with the singular goal of trolling Democrats.
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) tweeted a promise to vote against his own amendment to provide comprehensive health insurance coverage for all. “I believe socialized medicine would be a disaster for the American people,” Daines said before the vote.
The amendment failed, with Sen. Angus King (I-ME) and four Democrats—Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Joe Manchin (WV), Jon Tester (MT), and Joe Donnelly (IN)—joining Republicans in opposition. The rest of the Democratic caucus protested by voting “present.”
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), whose Medicare-for-All legislation Daines reportedly copied, blasted Daines before the vote, calling the amendment a “scheme to force a vote on Senate Democrats.” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a long-time proponent of single-payer insurance, called the Daines amendment a “gimmick.”
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A recent poll indicated that 60 percent of respondents support universal health coverage via a “Medicare for All” system, including 43 percent of conservatives and 40 percent of Trump voters.
Thursday’s vote capped a nearly week-long process by Senate Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that Democrats resoundingly criticized as a “sham.”
Votes this week failed to “repeal” and “repeal and replace” the ACA, or Obamacare. Senate Republicans’ latest attempt, a “skinny” bill, is expected to be voted on late Thursday. A Congressional Budget Office analysis indicates the bill would hike premiums an estimated 20 percent and result in an additional 16 million people losing insurance, as Rewire reported.
“It’s clear how desperate President Trump and Republican leaders are to jam through something, anything to claim a political win,” Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) said in a statement. “For my Senate colleagues who think this proposal is a better option than what Republicans have thrown at the wall so far, let me be very clear: Democrats, patients and families know that sending this bill to conference with the House is just like buying Trumpcare a ticket to the President’s desk.”