Perhaps Democrats were celebrating too loudly to notice. Republican partisans almost certainly missed it over the sound of their blaring recriminations. In July, the GOP ran face-first into the iron law of entitlements: Once implemented, they’re impossible to confiscate. But even as they shuffled off into the August recess, festooned with failure and licking their wounds from the botched effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the GOP rigged ObamaCare with a dead man’s switch.

Amid an overly complex process designed to compel Republicans to make good on seven years of campaign promises, the Senate GOP conference cleverly forced their Democratic colleagues to share some of the pain. Republican Senator Steve Daines put to the floor an amendment to implement a Medicare-for-all system in the United States, using the same language as a bill sponsored in the House by Democratic Rep. John Conyers. The amendment drew precisely zero votes in its favor. Fifty-seven Senators voted against it, including Democrat-caucusing Senators Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly, Jon Tester, Heidi Heitkamp, and Angus King.


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