The last-ditch effort by Senate Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act was defeated in the early hours of Friday morning, dealing a "humiliating" blow to President Donald Trump and the GOP and sparking jubilant celebration among those who have marched, called their representatives, and risked arrest for months to ensure Trumpcare's demise.
"The failure of Trumpcare provides the perfect opportunity for Democrats to go on offense by fighting for Medicare for All."
—Murshed Zaheed, CREDO
"You killed Trumpcare, at least for tonight," declared Indivisible following the vote. "This is your victory. Celebrate it."
In the end, Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and John McCain (R-Ariz.) defected from their party to vote down the so-called "skinny repeal" effort, which the Congressional Budget Office estimated would leave 16 million more Americans uninsured.
As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) delivered a dejected speech announcing the death of the repeal effort he spearheaded, demonstrators outside the Capitol building expressed excitement and relief that, at least for now, the GOP's efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, defund Planned Parenthood, and gut Medicaid have fallen short.
"If millions of Americans had not raised their voices at town hall meetings, made phone calls to their senators, posted on social media, and resisted in other ways, this bill might already be law," Anna Galland, executive director of MoveOn.org, said in a statement.
But, Galland emphasized, the threat has not been entirely eliminated.
"Republicans in Congress will not give up," she concluded. "Neither can we."
This sentiment was echoed on social media and in speeches at the Capitol in response to Trumpcare's defeat; many concluded that the struggle will continue until healthcare is guaranteed to all Americans as a right.
"To the thousands of citizen leaders who gave their all to this struggle: This is your victory. Thank you," Our Revolution said on Friday. "We fight on for Medicare for All."
"Our goal must be to join the rest of the industrialized world and guarantee healthcare to every man, woman, and child in this country."
—Sen. Bernie SandersIn a statement following the Senate's vote, Murshed Zaheed, the political director of CREDO, argued that "the failure of Trumpcare provides the perfect opportunity for Democrats to go on offense by fighting for Medicare for All."
"Medicare already covers 40 million Americans over the age of 65, providing quality care at prices that are much lower than the private market,” he added. "It is time to take decisive steps toward a national healthcare system that puts people over profits."
As Common Dreams has reported, grassroots support for federally funded universal healthcare has peaked during the Trumpcare fight, and organizations throughout the country are mobilizing to pressure lawmakers into siding with popular sentiment.
"Tonight is just a start," said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in a speech outside the Capitol. "We've got a long way to go. And our goal must be to join the rest of the industrialized world and guarantee healthcare to every man, woman, and child in this country."
Before this vote: fight for Medicare for all.— Chris Mabry (@cjmab28) July 28, 2017
During this vote: fight for Medicare for all.
After this vote: fight for Medicare for all.
Trumpcare is dead. Now it's time for medicare for all. pic.twitter.com/OuwJFQrcne— Secular Talk (@KyleKulinski) July 28, 2017
Senator McConnell just asked what our ideas are now. Lol. Let's go! #MedicareForAll— Nomiki Konst (@NomikiKonst) July 28, 2017
Remember when they said it was either this bill or #MedicareForAll?— People For Bernie (@People4Bernie) July 28, 2017
Time to keep your promise to the voters.