John McCain Is Not Your Health Care Hero

McCain gets the headlines, but others made those headlines possible
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 28, 2017 1:44 PM CDT

(Newser) – Democrats need to take the right lesson from Friday's dramatic rescue of the Affordable Care Act: You can be grateful for Sen. John McCain's vote, but he's not your hero. The Atlantic reports McCain is a man of principle, but those principles are "process, decorum, and Senate traditions." It may seem "silly" to put process over the actual policies being voted on, but that's what McCain does, and he did it again Friday, valuing process ahead of party or ideology. "We must now return to the correct way of legislating," he said in a statement. But he also said: “From the beginning, I have believed that ObamaCare should be repealed and replaced." Here's what else you need to know about Friday's health care vote:

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  • Vox argues there's another reason McCain isn't the hero of the ACA's preservation: Republican senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins have opposed every GOP health care bill for weeks, standing up to threats of violence from Republicans in the House, shaming tweets from President Trump, and more.
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar made sure that was recognized when she interrupted Sen. Chuck Schumer's praising of McCain to ask, “Can you also not forget the two women senators who were there from the beginning?” Roll Call reports.
  • In addition to McCain, Murkowski, and Collins, the Washington Post gives credit to five Democratic senators from Trump-supporting red states, especially Sen. Joe Manchin, whose West Virginia went for Trump in 2016 by 42 points, who never wavered in their opposition to the GOP health care bills.
  • In its list of five lessons to learn from Friday's vote, the New York Times argues it was proof that both Trump and bullying were ineffective this time. Trump sicced his 34 million Twitter followers on Murkowski and had Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke threaten the Alaskan economy. "It wasn't a subtle move," and it didn't work.
  • The Zinke move, especially, was miscalculated, the Washington Post reports. Murkowski is the chair of the Senate committee that oversees the Department of the Interior and immediately demonstrated her power by delaying action desired by Zinke.
  • The Los Angeles Times posits Friday's vote could herald a new split in the Senate: rather than Democrats vs. Republicans, it will be senators willing to reach across the aisle vs. those who aren't. "Maybe this is what had to happen for there to be bipartisanship," Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy said after the vote. "We'll see."
(Read more health care reform stories.)

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