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McCain votes 'no' on Obamacare repeal: Bill 'offered no replacement'

Joining two other Republicans to kill an Obamacare repeal effort in a late-night Senate vote, Sen. John McCain said the GOP's "skinny repeal" bill "offered no replacement to actually reform our health care system and deliver affordable, quality health care to our citizens."

McCain voted "no" on the measure backed by Republican leadership, along with GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. They and all 48 Democrats in the Senate narrowly defeated the attempt to roll back the Affordable Care Act, tanking the move on a 49-51 vote.

Arizona's other GOP senator, Jeff Flake, voted in favor of the measure.

McCain signaled his vote with a dramatic thumb turned down to the floor as he stood near the front of the Senate floor during the roll call. Some Democrats applauded, but were quickly quelled by a slicing gesture from Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. The Republican leadership had kept the vote open for more than an hour as Vice President Mike Pence and others lobbied McCain and the other "no" votes on the GOP side.

McCain's statement, released after the vote:

From the beginning, I have believed that Obamacare should be repealed and replaced with a solution that increases competition, lowers costs, and improves care for the American people. The so-called 'skinny repeal' amendment the Senate voted on today would not accomplish those goals. While the amendment would have repealed some of Obamacare's most burdensome regulations, it offered no replacement to actually reform our health care system and deliver affordable, quality health care to our citizens. The Speaker's statement that the House would be 'willing' to go to conference does not ease my concern that this shell of a bill could be taken up and passed at any time.

I've stated time and time again that one of the major failures of Obamacare was that it was rammed through Congress by Democrats on a strict-party line basis without a single Republican vote. We should not make the mistakes of the past that has led to Obamacare's collapse, including in my home state of Arizona where premiums are skyrocketing and health care providers are fleeing the marketplace. We must now return to the correct way of legislating and send the bill back to committee, hold hearings, receive input from both sides of aisle, heed the recommendations of nation's governors, and produce a bill that finally delivers affordable health care for the American people. We must do the hard work our citizens expect of us and deserve.

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