US Senate rejects Republican bill to repeal Obamacare without replacement

Elias Hubbard
July 28, 2017

As the Senate headed toward a vote early Friday that Republicans meant to set up health care talks with the GOP-controlled House, the votes of Pennsylvania's two senators were not in question. As rumblings grew that the House might simply put the bill to a swift up and down vote, many Republicans began to hesitate about the legislation.

But since the biggest vote failed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) asked the Senate to move on.

The bill was defeated 51-49 at around 1:45 a.m. following a long delay for the vote, scheduled for around midnight, as several Republicans, including Vice President Mike Pence, tried to persuade McCain to change his vote. The bill would have ended both the individual mandate that financially penalizes people who don't have health insurance, as well as the requirement that employers of a certain size provide coverage. The proposed bill would also cancel the regulation obliging large companies to offer a health care plan to their employees and would defund the American Planned Parenthood Program for a year. An amendment to the bill passed on Thursday also repealed the so-called "Cadillac" tax on the most robust and expensive health care plans.

Earlier, U.S. President Donald Trump cheered Senate Republicans ahead of voting on the Obamacare repeal bill. The Republicans' "skinny repeal" bill was so unpopular and ineffective that anyone outside of the GOP conference was against it. The latter two have been strongly opposed to almost all of the Republican Senate's recent health bills-but McCain's decision was a nail-biter.

"We set unrealistic expectations and then we never meet them, which leads to anger and frustration", the congressman analyzed.

In fact three Republicans helped to kill the skinny repeal bill: Sens.

The Congressional Budget Office came out with estimates on Thursday evening on the legislation, projecting the number of uninsured Americans would increase by 16 million over the next decade.

"It is time to move on", McConnell said.

"I'd rather get out of the way and let it collapse than have a half-ass approach where it is now our problem", Graham said. All 48 Democrats joined them.

To yank away Obamacare and allow one sixth of the USA economy collapse, to deny millions of people coverage and for the Republican Party to own the resultant disaster, Graham said, would be "the dumbest thing in history".

Urging members to "turn the page in another way", Mr Schumer said of Senator McCain: "All of us were so inspired by his speech and the life of the senator from Arizona".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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