Sen. John McCain’s surgery for a blood clot has caused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to announce that the vote on the Senate version of the health care bill will be delayed, amid rumblings that the Arizona Republican’s health may be more tenuous than was initially reported.
The New York Times reported that McCain’s Friday surgery for a blood clot behind his left eye “may be more serious than initial descriptions have implied, and it may delay his return to Washington by at least a week or two.”
That could wreck the vote on the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, or put it off until later in the summer at the very least, since Sen. McConnell announced Saturday that the vote on the bill would be delayed until McCain’s return.
“Elaine and I, along with the entire Senate family, wish John the very best and wish him a speedy recovery,” McConnell’s statement read; Elaine refers to his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. “There are few people tougher than my friend John McCain, and I know he’ll be back with us soon. Our thoughts are with Cindy (McCain) and his family, his staff, and the people of Arizona.
“While John is recovering, the Senate will continue our work on legislative items and nominations and will defer consideration of the Better Care Act.”
The two-inch blood clot was found and removed “following a routine annual physical” at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. The clot, “above his left eye” was removed by a “minimally invasive craniotomy with an eyebrow incision.” While McCain had initially said he had planned to return within a week, neurosurgeons said recovery usually takes longer.
“Usually, a blood clot in this area would be a very concerning issue,” Dr. Nrupen Baxi, an assistant professor of neurosurgery at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, told The Times. “The recovery time from a craniotomy is usually a few weeks.”
The clot’s location also raised speculation that it may have been responsible for Sen. McCain’s bizarre lines of questioning during the James Comey hearing back in June.
“Usually, a blood clot like this is discovered when patients have symptoms, whether it’s a seizure or headaches or weakness or speech difficulties,” Dr. Baxi noted.
He also cast doubt on McCain’s version of how the clot was allegedly discovered: “Generally, it’s not found on a routine physical because doctors would not know to look for it.” Other doctors noted, however, that McCain’s previous history of skin cancer might cause a doctor to scan his head as part of the physical process.
The Times reported that possible causes for the clot “include a fall or a blow to the head, a stroke or certain brain changes associated with aging.”
McCain’s vote for the health care bill would be a necessary one, as well. As Voice of America notes, at least 50 votes are needed so that the bill can proceed procedurally, but at least two members of the 52-strong Republican caucus — Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine — have indicated they won’t vote for it.
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