Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Sen. McCain's surgery for brain blood clot delays vote on Senate health care bill

The NY Times reports that McCain’s Surgery May Be More Serious Than Thought, Experts Say. From what I’ve seen this Times report is the best one out there.

The condition for which Senator John McCain had surgery on Friday may be more serious than initial descriptions have implied, and it may delay his return to Washington by at least a week or two, medical experts said on Sunday.

The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, has already announced that votes on a bill to dismantle the Affordable Care Act will not begin until Mr. McCain’s return. A statement released by Mr. McCain’s office on Saturday had suggested that he would be in Arizona recovering for just this week, but neurosurgeons interviewed said the typical recovery period could be longer.

The statement from Mr. McCain’s office said a two-inch blood clot was removed from “above his left eye” during a “minimally invasive craniotomy with an eyebrow incision” at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix, “following a routine annual physical.” Surgeons there are not conducting interviews. Mr. McCain’s communications director, Julie Tarallo, said further information would be made public when it became available.

A craniotomy is an opening of the skull, and an eyebrow incision would be used to reach a clot in or near the left frontal lobes of the brain, neurosurgeons who were not involved in Mr. McCain’s care said.

“Usually, a blood clot in this area would be a very concerning issue,” said Dr. Nrupen Baxi, an assistant professor of neurosurgery at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.

He added, “The recovery time from a craniotomy is usually a few weeks.”

So McCain’s absence from the Senate might halt votes on the Senate’s “BCRA” health bill for quite some time.

BUT!!! HuffPost reminds us that The Senate Health Care Bill Is Still Not Dead (HuffPost Politics email).

The Senate health care bill remains in a curious state of buoyancy ― without enough support to go anywhere, but lacking enough opposition to sink.

Simply put: The bill is not dead, despite Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) vowing to vote against it and a healthy coalition of more than a half-dozen Republicans who have “serious concerns,” according to Collins.

With Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) recovering from a surgery to remove a blood clot above his left eye, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) officially does not have the votes to bring the GOP health care bill to the floor. Facing that reality, he delayed the vote yet again.

But there’s a lesson in that delay: McConnell believes he can actually pass this. If he didn’t, with the backlog of legislative items already keeping senators in session into their August break, he could just take a failed vote and clear the measure from his calendar. He’s not doing that ― at least not yet.

At this point, any one Republican senator could cast serious doubt on the passage of this bill if he or she were to announce firm opposition to it. No one has taken that opportunity.

For more of the medical details, such as they are known now, check out the Times report.

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