Hours after a measure to repeal major parts of his staple legislation failed, former President Barack Obama issued a statement through his spokesperson.
“The Affordable Care Act has always been about something bigger than politics — it’s about the character of our country,” the statement, sent by Obama spokesperson Kevin Lewis said. “It’s about the 20 million Americans and counting who’ve gained the security and peace of mind of health insurance, and the tens of millions more who benefited from upgrades like free preventive care, such as mammograms and vaccines and improvements in the quality of care in hospitals that have averted more than 100,000 deaths so far.”
Read the full statement below:
The lengthy statement follows a dramatic moment on the Senate floor early in the morning Friday. The vote on the “Skinny Repeal” amendment finally took place after many hours of debate at around 1:30 a.m. EDT, and it essentially came down to the very last vote.
Senator John McCain, who was Obama’s opponent during the 2008 presidential election, was one of the deciding votes that caused a “Skinny Repeal” amendment of the Affordable Care Act to fail, 49-51.
The “Skinny Repeal” legislation was finally unveiled by Senate Republicans around 10 p.m. EDT Thursday, and it would have repealed the individual and employer mandates of the Affordable Care Act. It would’ve also temporarily repealed the medical device tax, CNN reported. In addition, the legislation would give each state a bit more flexibility in allowing health insurance that doesn’t comply with the language in Obamacare.
However, the “Skinny Repeal” bill would have added another 16 million uninsured people by 2026 under Obamacare, a report released by the Congressional Budget Office said.
McCain’s vote came just days after he made a stunning return to Senate following brain surgery on a cancerous tumor.
“As I stand here today — looking a little worse for wear I’m sure — I have a refreshed appreciation for the protocols and customs of this body, and for the other ninety-nine privileged souls who have been elected to this Senate,” McCain said during his speech Tuesday.
After McCain’s cancer diagnosis, Obama encouraged him to keep fighting out on Twitter.