The Senate Started Dismantling Obamacare In the Middle of the Night

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, displaying his regular, actual face. Photo via AP
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, displaying his regular, actual face. Photo via AP

Senate Republicans voted last night to begin taking apart Obamacare, despite still having no idea on how to replace it. Donald Trump is promising that a replacement law will come “very quickly,” which is impossible. Let’s be extremely clear: the end result of this is that people will die.


The final Senate vote was 51-48 along party lines, and happened just before 1:30 a.m., an hour at which all the best decisions are made. The vote allows Republicans to vote to repeal the law through a budget package, without the Democrats being able to filibuster to stop it. Democrats tried to protest and were told that they were out of order. As always, Bernie Sanders brought the good news. From CNN:

“I think it’s important for this country to know this was not a usual thing, this is a day which lays the groundwork for 30 million people to be thrown off their health insurance,” Sanders said. “And if that happens, many of these people will die.”

The Associated Press reports that even some Republicans are expressing misgivings about repealing a law with no replacement lined up:

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she wants to at least see “a detailed framework” of a GOP alternative health care plan before voting on repeal. She said Republicans would risk “people falling through the cracks or causing turmoil in insurance markets” if lawmakers voided Obama’s statute without a replacement in hand.

Collins was among a handful of Republicans to occasionally break ranks to support some Democratic messaging amendments aimed at supporting such things as rural hospitals and a mandate to cover patients with pre-existing medical conditions. They were all shot down by majority Republicans anyway.

And while the House is set to vote on the measure on Friday, some Republicans there aren’t sure either. ““We’re loading a gun here,” Rep. Tom MacArthur of New Jersey said, according to the Associated Press. “I want to know where it’s pointed before we start the process.”


Trump has been promising for some time now that the law will be repealed and replaced “very quickly” or “simultaneously,” but has offered no proposal of any kind for his version of the law. Also, it is impossible to instantly replace a law that took two years to pass.

Since December, Sanders and other Democrats have been planning a national day of action on January 15, a series of rallies to “vigorously oppose the Republican plan to end Medicare as we know it and throw our health care system into chaos.” It almost seems like chaos is the goal, though?

Anna Merlan was a Senior Reporter at G/O Media until September 2019. She's the author of Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power.


thunderbae (a straight shooter, respected on all sides)

I’m so fucking angry. My parents were finally able to afford healthcare for the first time since we lost our house during the housing crisis. ACA obviously has problems, but the solution has never been snatching away healthcare from people who desparately need it.

Republicans lack basic humanity and I hope they experience firsthand the pain and terror of not being able to get healthcare for themselves and their family. It’s only fair.