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Opinion: Senate GOP should finish what it started - pass a health care bill

FILE - In this June 22, 2017, file photo, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., arrives for a Senate Republican meeting on a health reform bill on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Boris Epshteyn formerly served as a Senior Advisor to the Trump Campaign and served in the White House as Special Assistant to The President and Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations.

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - Health care reform has been the focus of Washington, D.C. all year. The reason is that the American people elected Republican majorities in both houses of Congress with an express mandate to overhaul Obamacare.

Yet, the reform process seemingly came to a screeching halt last week in the Senate. GOP Senators John McCain of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska all voted "No" on a "skinny repeal" of Obamacare, leaving the lightest version of the bill short of the 50 votes it needed to go to conference.

However, while Obamacare reform may seem down, we shouldn’t count it out yet.

The health care bill in the House died a million deaths before being passed in May.

Will the Senate be able to achieve the same outcome in the end?

Senators on the Hill are saying that they need to move on to other issues where there is more common ground and come back to health care at a later time.

The Senate is still in session for the next two weeks and is expected to start working on fronts outside of health care. There are no current plans to forge ahead on the health care battle before senators head home for their abbreviated August break.

That is a mistake. There is no reason to kick the can down the road. Three votes sank the skinny repeal. Those votes, especially that of McCain, should be able to be swayed. Sen. McCain needs to be assured that while the skinny repeal is not all-encompassing, it is a path to a broader bill that would come out of a conference with the House.

We, the American people, do not give up when there are setbacks, and our elected officials should follow suit and not shy away from a challenge.

The bottom line is this: health care reform needs to get done. It was a priority of the GOP during the campaign. It is a priority of the president. It’s a priority of the American people. Republicans in the Senate should finish what they started and find a way to pass a health care bill before moving on.

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