When John McCain campaigned for the Republican nomination for president 17 years ago, he rode the Straight Talk Express — a bus named to reflect the senator’s penchant for speaking his mind.

The U.S. senator’s words sometimes seemed convoluted earlier this year, before he was diagnosed in July with a form of brain cancer. But since having surgery, he has made statements with common-sense clarity — verbally and in writing — about his colleagues’ efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

In late July, McCain provided one of the key Republican “nay” votes that helped stop a bill being rushed through the Senate by the GOP leadership — legislation that, according to the independent Congressional Budget Office, would have added to the ranks of uninsured Americans. Furthermore, the bill had not been significantly vetted in committees.

Didn’t happen.

Instead Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina went about crafting a new bill that contained some intriguing ideas — such as funding and allowing states to craft their own insurance-coverage plans — but was so flawed that Sen. Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, told reporters last week:

“You know, I could maybe give you 10 reasons why this bill shouldn’t be considered.” However, he added, since Republicans campaigned on repealing Obamacare, they had no practical choice but to vote on the flawed bill.

McCain didn’t buy that specious argument, stating Friday: “I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal. I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried.

Nor could I support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will (affect) insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it. Without a full CBO score, which won’t be available by the end of the month, we won’t have reliable answers to any of those questions.”

The lack of a full CBO score, which would both detail costs and estimate the number of Americans who would lose coverage, should be a bill-killer.

Yes, Republicans in the Senate face a Sept. 30 procedural deadline to get a health-care bill approved by a simple majority, and Graham and others appropriately voice concerns about the uncertainty facing both ACA insurers and policyholders.

But those problems can be fixed — at least in the short term — to support the marketplaces, continue to subsidize lower-income purchasers of the ACA’s private-sector plans and maintain vital protections in the act. For example, the Cassidy-Graham bill would abandon the ACA’s provisions that prohibit insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Bad.

One-party proposals have failed. Republicans and Democrats can and should work together. That’s the reasonable expectation of a majority of Americans — and the right thing to do.

This guest editorial was originally published by the Sarasota Herald Tribune, a sister newspaper of the Washington County News within Gatehouse Media.