John McCain surgery

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John McCain surgery forces GOP to delay voting on Senate’s healthcare bill

The GOP can’t afford to lose McCain’s vote.


Josh Katzowitz


Posted on Jul 16, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 11:46 pm CDT

The vote on a Senate bill that would remake the U.S. healthcare system has been delayed again, Sen. Mitch McConnell announced late Saturday night. That’s because Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) underwent surgery for a blood clot above his left eye.

As the New York Times writes, the absence of McCain means McConnell wouldn’t have enough votes to fast-track a vote for the controversial bill that would get rid of Obamacare.

Last week, Senate Republicans released an updated version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Already, two GOP senators—Susan Collins from Maine and Rand Paul from Kentucky—have pledged not to vote for the new bill, and McConnell can’t afford to lose any more senators, including McCain, to pass the bill.

The GOP also inserted a provision into the latest bill that would exempt members of Congress and their staffs from no longer receiving essential health benefits.

Last month, McConnell had to push back the vote until after the July 4 Congressional recess, because the GOP didn’t have enough yes votes to pass the bill.

The GOP was set to vote on the BCRA this week until McCain’s visit to the doctor. Here’s the statement released by the Mayo Clinic.

Following a routine annual physical, Sen. John McCain underwent a procedure to remove a blood clot from above his left eye on Friday, July 14 at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix. Surgeons successfully removed the 5-cm blood clot during a minimally invasive craniotomy with an eyebrow incision. Tissue pathology reports are pending within the next several days.


The Senator is resting comfortably at home and is in good condition. His Mayo Clinic doctors report that the surgery went ‘very well’ and he is in good spirits. Once the pathology information is available, further care will be discussed between doctors and the family. In the meantime, his Mayo Clinic care team will not be conducting interviews.

McCain, 80, said he’d stay in Arizona this week recovering from the surgery.

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*First Published: Jul 16, 2017, 9:07 am CDT