By Noam N. Levey
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., dealt a critical blow to Republicans' last-ditch attempt to roll back the Affordable Care Act on Friday, announcing he will not vote for sweeping repeal legislation that GOP leaders plan to bring to the Senate floor for a vote next week.
"We should not be content to pass health care legislation on a party-line basis," McCain said in a lengthy statement criticizing the GOP rush to pass a repeal bill without any hearings and little public scrutiny.
McCain's move raises serious questions about whether Republicans have the votes to pass the latest repeal bill, authored by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Bill Cassidy, R-La.
The party, which has 52 votes in the Senate, can lose only two or the bill will fail.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has already said he will oppose the Graham-Cassidy bill, which he has criticized for maintaining too much of the current law's government spending on health care.
And Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a centrist Republican who helped sink the last GOP repeal effort in July, has signaled strong reservations about the current proposal.
McCain also opposed that previous effort, casting a dramatic middle-of-the-night vote against the measure and calling for his colleagues to stop trying to rush through major health care legislation.
McCain reiterated those calls Friday in announcing his opposition to Graham-Cassidy.
"As I have repeatedly stressed, health care reform legislation ought to be the product of regular order in the Senate. Committees of jurisdiction should mark up legislation with input from all committee members, and send their bill to the floor for debate and amendment," the veteran lawmaker said.
"That is the only way we might achieve bipartisan consensus on lasting reform, without which a policy that affects one-fifth of our economy and every single American family will be subject to reversal with every change of administration and congressional majority."
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