A Senator's Surgery Has Forced Another Delay To The Health Care Vote

Henrietta Brewer
July 17, 2017

PHOENIX - Sen. John McCain's absence from the Senate as he recovers from surgery for a blood clot has led the GOP leadership to postpone consideration of health care legislation already on the brink.

With both in opposition to the legislation, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can afford only one more "no" vote to get the 50 "yes" votes he needs to pass the bill.

The Mayo Clinic in Phoenix said in a statement that, following a routine physical, McCain had a procedure to remove a five-centimeter blood clot located above his left eye.

It was not immediately clear when the surgery took place. McCain has said numerous priorities outlined by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey have not been included in the bill yet, but he would continue advocating for them. As the leader of the Senate, McConnell also revealed that the Senate would "defer consideration of the Better Care Act" until McCain returned from recovery. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of ME opposed the bill already, and McCain's absence next week would likely have made it impossible to proceed. McCain is taking time to recover based on the advice of his doctors, the statement said. Cruz's additions to the bill has garnered widespread conservative support in the Senate, but has left many moderates cold.


Republican U.S. Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain have been under pressure from the state hospital association, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and even Gov. Doug Ducey to make changes to the Medicaid proposal. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Sen.

Some of the revisions in this version of the bill include: maintaining some Obamacare taxes for the wealthy, allowing people to pay for insurance with pre-tax money and providing financial support to help low-income people purchase healthcare. McCain said that he would file amendments that would address concerns of leaders from his state about how the bill would affect Medicaid.

The Mayo Clinic said surgeons used a minimally invasive craniotomy to remove the blood clot.

"What I've suggested to the president...if this comes to an impasse, I think if the president jumps into the fray and says 'Look guys, you promised to repeal it, let's just repeal what we can agree to, '" Paul explained.


"He is one of my best friends in the Senate and he is one of the most effective, strongest senators", he said.

A half-dozen key senators, including McCain, were undecided on whether to go ahead with a procedural vote, putting the bill's future in serious jeopardy before McConnell punted.

"I do want to see more flexibility in the insurance market, but Sen".


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