The Senate attempt to Repeal and Replace Obamacare has failed. All 48 Democrats and three Republicans, including Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and John McCain of Arizona. American voters who had elected a Republican congress were left wondering what they have to do to eliminate the terrible burden of a health care reform law that has proven to be so destructive. Liberals celebrated the failure. However, Obamacare continues to slowly collapse in a Death Spiral. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in a bitter speech, announced that the Senate is moving on, though he dared the Democrats to come up with their ideas.

Why did John McCain change his vote?

McCain, who had voted previously to repeal Obamacare and just the day before had voted to proceed with debate on the matter, released a statement explaining his change of mind. He claimed that he was not confident that the so-called “skinny repeal” would be changed in a Senate House conference, even though House Speaker Paul Ryan assured the Senate in writing that it would do so. McCain also urged that the Senate return to regular order, hold hearings, and forge some sort of “bi-partisan” repeal and replace of the bill. As a practical matter, none of these things are likely to happen anytime soon. While two other Republicans also voted to preserve Obamacare, McCain's vote especially left a bitter taste.

The effect of the Senate failure

While the left celebrated the survival of Obamacare, its death spiral proceeds apace. More insurance companies are withdrawing from the state exchanges. Premiums continued to skyrocket. The end of the year announcement of new increases is likely to be devastating. The number of counties that have only one or even no individual insurance policy options will continue to expand.

More Americans will face financial ruin, saddled either with policies they cannot afford or subject to fines by the IRS for not carrying any. The burden on employers will continue, stifling economic growth and job creation.

The political fallout

The political effects of the failure to repeal and replace Obamacare are difficult to determine.

The continued death spiral of the health care regime is going to keep the issue alive and increase the fury of the voters. President Donald Trump will use the issue to his advantage by hammering Congress on Twitter and on the stump.

However, how voters will react in 2018 is unclear. Will proponents of ending Obamacare capitalize on the failure to elect more conservatives to Congress? A number of Senate Democrats are considered vulnerable in next year’s election. Or will voters throw in the towel, stay home, and cause Democrats to be swept back into power?

The Senate does have a small; window of opportunity to fix its remarkable blunder. At the end of the year, when Obamacare policy holders are hammered by more than double digit increases, senators could return to the matter of repeal and replace. Otherwise, it becomes an issue in the midterm elections.