Very early Friday morning, the Senate officially voted down the latest repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also called the "skinny repeal." Three Republican votes — those of Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and John McCain — sunk the bill in the end, because it needed a simple majority to pass, and with the final tally at 51-49, the bill was defeated. And while there was plenty of drama inside the Senate chamber as Senators voted for or against the bill, there was also a lot going on outside the building, too. Protestors and activists from groups like MoveOn and Planned Parenthood gathered outside the Capitol hours before the final vote, and you've got to see the moment protestors learned the "skinny repeal" didn't pass.
According to the BBC, the "skinny repeal" was the third failed attempt to repeal Obamacare. And by now, you might assume that protestors would have gotten tired of showing up for protests so often and grown weary of having to speak out so much about the same issue. But the crowd waiting outside for word of the outcome of the latest repeal effort was a clear indication that that's just not the case.
And when the announcement was made that the repeal effort had once again failed, those protestors had a lot to celebrate, and they didn't hold back.
The crowd broke into cheers, and chants of "Yes we can!" rose loud and clear. People hugged, clapped, and otherwise celebrated with real joy when it became clear that Republicans didn't have the votes to pass the "skinny repeal" bill. And Emma Roller, a reporter with Splinter News, captured it all.
And they had a lot to celebrate. According to The Atlantic, if the bill had succeeded, it "would have cleared the way for passage of legislation that would set up negotiations with the House on a final bill to send to President Trump’s desk." With this latest failure, not only does a bill that many protestors found dangerous not advance, but it may force Democrats and Republicans to actually work together to reform the ACA, rather than repeal it and leave millions more Americans without adequate health care, with 15 million estimated to lose it in 2018 if a repeal passed, according to The Washington Post.
ThinkProgress reported that hundreds of people — some of them from organizations such as Planned Parenthood and MoveOn — waited outside as the session went on. Protestors persisted even as the bill was introduced late in the night, and the vote didn't even conclude until very early Friday morning.
And it seemed that their efforts — along with the efforts of thousands who called Senators for weeks to make their voices heard regarding their opinion on GOP repeal or replace propositions — paid off.
However, although the "skinny repeal" didn't pass, it sounds like not everyone is willing to give up on repeal efforts just yet. According to the BBC, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said of the fight over health care reform:
Mark my words, this journey is not yet done.
So it sounds like protestors and activists shouldn't pack up and put away their poster boards just yet.
The truth is, the fight to save or repeal — or reform, or modify, or whatever you want to call it — the Affordable Care Act is far from over. But for now, it's really amazing to see protestors who showed up and made sure their presence was felt and their voices were heard have even one moment of pure celebration. They've earned it.