So last night, after months–no, years–of loudly and proudly promising to obliterate the Affordable Care Act, the biggest legislative achievement of President Barack Obama’s administration, the Republicans who control the U.S. Senate failed to pass their last-ditch repeal bill (written earlier that afternoon). The vote was 51-49, with all 48 Democrats and three Republicans–Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine and John McCain of Arizona–voting no.
While many big news organizations today led with McCain (who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer–often crediting him with the defeat–the nonprofit advocacy group Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii (PPVNH) today gave the credit to others.
“We stopped this bill in its tracks,” PPVNH CEO Elaine Rose said in a July 28 news release to supporters. “This is because of you; your voices, your tenacity, and your fight. Women won last night. The leadership of Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, alongside Sens. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) is a powerful reminder of the strength our elected leaders are capable of, especially now. Because of you, another 8,118 people will still be able to get care at Planned Parenthood health centers across the country today. Against all odds, grassroots organizing defeated this repeal bill. Across our four states this year, we held more than 708 events, and more than 56,000 people made calls, showed up at town halls, signed petitions and attended rallies. This fight is far from over, but this is a big step forward and we will continue to make our voices heard because it matters.”
The day of the vote, Senator Hirono–who is being treated for stage 4 kidney cancer, laid out the repeal bill’s stake in a heartfelt statement:
“I was fortunate that after my cancer diagnosis, I was able to focus on my course of treatment instead of how I would pay for it. Under Trumpcare, Hawaii residents living with pre-existing conditions won’t be able to afford the health care that could one day save their life. This measure would ensure that millions of people across the country can afford the care that might one day save their life.”
Nearly 50,000 people in Hawaii would have lost their medical insurance had the Republican bill become law, according to this New York Times infograph. Senator Hirono’s office also said that more than “590,000 adults in Hawaii live with pre-existing conditions that could keep them from accessing affordable health care under the Republican bill.”
Photo of Senator Hirono: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park