CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – The "skinny repeal" really narrowed in on a handful of issues Republicans wanted to see changed. Vice President Mike Pence was ready to make the deciding vote, but it still didn't pass.
"It just didn't work. I mean, this is probably the last resort," said Holley Tankersley, associate dean and professor of politics at Coastal Carolina University.
Tankersley believes it is most likely the end of the line for a partisan-based repeal or replacement of the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare.
"It's unlikely that the Republicans in the Senate would be able to come up with a bill that they haven't already tried that would eliminate the need for any Democratic votes," she said.
From Friday's early-morning flop of the skinny repeal, Tankersley highlights Sen. John McCain's "no" vote and how he may have foreshadowed this vote in a speech he gave earlier on Thursday.
According to Tankersley, those words took the note of going back to basics with how decisions like this one are made.
McCain's point, Tankersley believes, could be this issue's only fighting chance.
"And start with a new bill that is crafted in a committee, with input from both Republicans and Democrats reaching a compromise, and then bringing that bill to the floor in a more traditional fashion like we are used to seeing in American politics," she said.
While Tankersley said this outcome may have surprised the Trump administration, she said there were warning signs when it comes to this issue.
One was U.S. governors - both Democrats and Republicans - really cautioning the Trump administration and those in the Senate against repealing the Affordable Care Act without some reasonable replacement.
"I think governors are an interesting group, because they are doing the nuts and bolts of governing on a daily basis," Tankersley said. "They can't afford to be quite as partisan as politicians at a national level. So I think we should have watched them as a bellwether more than we actually did."
She said the next warning sign was how many healthcare-related industries were against this repeal.
"They were all against this bill and at the last minute put in a pretty significant lobbying effort to kill it, and when the industry you are trying to regulate is wholeheartedly against the regulations or legislation that you've presented, that should be a telling factor," Tankersley said.
From here, Tankersley believes one of two things will happen - compromise between both sides, or majority Republicans abandoning the issue all together and moving on to something else.
"It's possible that the Senate, in particular the majority, the Republican majority with leader McConnell, will decide to leave this issue all together and focus on something else - tax reform, like the House has been working on; infrastructure; something that they would be a little more successful with," she said.