Republicans Open Senate Health Care Debate, Falter On First Attempt

Posted July 28, 2017

Senate Republicans have been unable to reach consensus on an approach, with McConnell failing to secure enough votes for either a repeal and replacement of Obamacare or a straight repeal.

"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".

But on Wednesday the Senate failed to pass a bill that would have struck down large parts of the Affordable Care Act and given lawmakers two years to come up with a replacement.

Although that language cleared the House and Senate back then, some Senate Republicans acknowledge now that the vote was symbolic.

McCain bemoaned the lack of legislative action in Congress, and his party's secretive process in working on repealing and replacing Obamacare.

But at the White House earlier after senators voted to consider the bill, Trump wasted no time in declaring a win and slamming the Democrats anew.

On Tuesday night, the Senate began the debate-and-vote process which is expected to last a number of days.

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.

Mr McConnell may have the toughest time persuading two female Republican senators - Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska - to support his efforts to uproot Obamacare.

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.