After hours of debating and voting on the Senate floor late Thursday night, Senator Ed Markey said he was relieved to see the Senate uphold Obamacare.
The 49-51 vote, which came out at about 1:30 a.m. on Friday, was yet another blow to the GOP, which has spent months hoping to pass legislation that would repeal and replace the Obama-era health care policy.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released a “skinny repeal” bill Thursday night, hoping it would sway Republican senators on the fence about the repeal, but it ultimately failed when senators John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins all voted against it.
Markey said the three Republican “no” votes were courageous and that millions of American families will be grateful to them for preserving their health care.
“Hopefully President Trump can hear this message as well and put aside partisanship to come to work in a way that I think will help all Americans and not just repeat what we’ve just gone through for the first six months,” Markey told CNN after the vote. “Hopefully now we can move on.”
The junior senator from Massachusetts said that change takes time, using his own state as an example for a health care system that needed tweaking after it was initially launched.
“After we passed the Massachusetts law, which the Affordable Care Act is based on, 10 years ago, it wasn’t perfect, and we’ve had to work very hard in Massachusetts to get to a point where we have 98 percent of all of our citizens who are now covered,” he said.
Over the last decade, he said, Massachusetts has made “tremendous progress,” which he noted is possible in all states when leaders from both sides of the aisle work together.
Instead, he noted, “partisan bickering” has colored the health care debate, keeping the legislators from passing effective legislation.
“This has been one of the least productive legislative periods in the history of the United States of America, and I just think that the American people want that era to end.”
Markey added that he hopes the vote will “signal a new era” in bipartisan legislation and will inspire compromise for the sake of improving the health care policy that has been upheld.
“No one wins 100 percent,” he said, “but in those compromises comes the advance of the good for our country.”