"I know many of you will have to see the bill changed substantially to support it", McCain said, adding that he would not vote for the Republican health care plan "as it is today".
Although that language cleared the House and Senate back then, some Senate Republicans acknowledge now that the vote was symbolic.
Analysts believe that the "skinny repeal" proposal, which only would strike the most disliked parts of the ACA but keep the rest intact, has the best chance of passing the Senate. John McCain (R-Ariz.), recently diagnosed with brain cancer, entered the chamber to a standing ovation and cast the 50th Republican vote.
Every senator, Republican and Democrat alike, will now have a virtually unlimited opportunity to debate and offer amendments to help put together a health care bill that helps Americans. They were successful, with Mike Pence's vote in favor bringing the vote tally to 51 to 50. "We can now deliver grt [great] healthcare to all Americans", he wrote.
Conservatives have embraced the effort to repeal the law without an immediate replacement.
About 20 million Americans gained healthcare coverage under Obamacare, but Republicans viewed it as an overreach of the federal government and said patients had less choice and higher premiums.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated the repeal proposal would leave 32 million more people uninsured by 2026 than under the current law.