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Obama Calls For Bipartisanship To Fix Health Care

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Former President Barack Obama released a statement July 28 calling for Democrats and Republicans to work together to fix the Affordable Care Act, commonly called "Obamacare."

His statement came hours after the Senate failed to pass a bill that would have repealed the ACA, the Daily Beast reported.

Democrats and Republicans must "demonstrate the necessary bipartisanship and political courage" to make changes to the Affordable Care Act, the former president said.

He argued that the 2010 law did much to improve health care for people in the country, but added "there will always be more work to do to make the country stronger and healthier," the Beast reported.

In the Senate vote in the early hours of July 28, three GOP senators broke ranks to oppose the repeal bill, leaving the final vote 49-51.

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The three who rebelled were Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

According to an anonymous source, President Donald Trump spoke with McCain by phone prior to the vote to encourage the Arizona senator to back the bill. He reportedly told McCain that the measure would never come into law.

"I thought it was the right vote," McCain said as he left, according to NBC News.

McCain issued a statement later through his office.

"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," McCain added. "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."

Even some Republicans who backed the Health Care Freedom Act, also referred to as the "skinny repeal" bill, were not enthusiastic about it.

"The skinny bill as policy is a disaster," Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said July 27. "The skinny bill as a replacement for Obamacare is a fraud. The skinny bill is a vehicle to getting conference to find a replacement."

The Senate Majority Leader, Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky insisted after the vote that Republicans will still push to repeal Obamacare.

"We told our constituents we would vote that way and when the moment came, most of us did," he added.

But it appears that future Republican efforts will have to wait a while.

"This is clearly a disappointment," said McConnell. "It's time to move on."

The Senate Minority Leader, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, said he knew McCain would vote against the repeal around three hours prior to the final vote.

"John McCain is a hero and has courage and does the right thing," Schumer said.

Sources: Daily Beast, NBC News / Photo credit: The White House/Wikimedia Commons, Gage Skidmore/Flickr, Chief National Guard Bureau/Flickr

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