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McCain: 'I Still Believe' Obamacare Can be Replaced; 'I Believe We Must'

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) arrives on Capitol Hill on July 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Despite his vote against the “skinny repeal” of Obamacare, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said he still believes the Republicans can repeal and replace Obamacare through the “regular process” of the Senate.

According to McCain, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is considering bringing a repeal-and-replace bill through committee and subsequently to the Senate floor.

“I campaigned on repeal and replace and I also expected to play a role in the Senate with amendments, with all of the aspects of the formulation of legislation, which is characteristic of the Senate. What was being rammed through the Senate was so-called skinny repeal, which we really had not seen until the day of the vote or the day before, and it was going to go to a conference with some House guys and a few Senate guys, nobody knowing what was going to come out,” McCain said during a Facebook Live Q&A on Wednesday.

“What’s the problem with that? When it comes out of a conference you have two choices: you can vote yes or you can vote no. And I wanted us to go through the regular process, as I described earlier in this program, come up with a proposal and a piece of legislation that would both repeal and replace Obamacare. So, that wasn’t happening and I came to the floor before, as you know, saying, look, we’ve got to work together. We really do,” he added.

McCain said he did not want the Republicans to follow the approach the Democrats took during the Obamacare debate and force the bill to passage without any support from the other party. McCain explained that he voted against “skinny repeal” in the hopes that a repeal and replace plan could move through the Senate via regular order.

“We’re talking about one-fifth of the gross national product, and so I voted against it in the hopes that, and I heard that Mitch McConnell is talking about it, our Republican leader, of bringing it through one of the committees and bringing it to the floor. I still believe we can do that. I believe we must do that,” he said. “One the reasons why Obamcare failed was because it was rammed through the Senate without any Republican consideration. So what did we do eight years later, 2008, 2007, nine years later is do the same thing to the Democrats – that’s not the way the Senate should function.”

McCain pushed back against Democrats who support a single-payer healthcare system in the United States. McCain said a single-payer system would turn into a “two-tier” system for “the wealthy and for the not-wealthy” like they have in Britain. He also said it would lead to longer wait times for medical care.

“I am against a single-payer system – that is socialism and I would never support it,” he said. “What you have basically, for example, in Britain is you have two tiers: you have a healthcare system that really wealthy people can afford to go out and get the healthcare they want, and there’s the other lower-income people who are dependent on ‘socialist’ medicine. My friends, waiting six months for a doctor’s appointment is not something that’s acceptable in America.”

During the Q&A, McCain floated the idea of taxing Apple’s profits “parked” overseas at 15 percent as part of tax reform and putting that money toward infrastructure projects.

“Why don’t we just say, ‘Hey, Apple, you’ve got $1 trillion or whatever it is that you have, a huge amount of money parked over in Ireland. Bring it back. We’ll tax it at 15 percent but that money we are taxing has got to go to infrastructure.’ And we’ve got to have that agreement from the president and the administration,” he said.

McCain told his constituents that he is “feeling fine” after his surgery to remove a blood clot and subsequent diagnosis of glioblastoma. He is undergoing a course of radiation and chemotherapy during the August recess.

“This is a rough disease; let’s be very honest about it and straightforward. I’ve always been straightforward, so I have to beat it. Fortunately, they found it early and the treatment is going extremely well,” he said. “I’m coming back.”

He addressed some of the harsh comments social media users made about him after his brain surgery and his “no” vote on “skinny repeal.”

For example, Nevada Republican National Committeewoman Diana Orrock tweeted “amen” to an article about McCain titled “Please Just F—ing Die Already.” She later apologized to McCain and the GOP, saying she does not wish anyone harm.

“Thanks for your letters. Thanks for your phone calls. Thanks for your outpouring of affection,” McCain said. “Even those that want me to die don’t want me to die right away, so that’s good – but overall I just want to say thank you. Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for your loyalty. Thank you for everything you’ve done for literally the luckiest guy on earth.”