First Attempt at Repeal-Only of Obamacare Falls Short in Senate

Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment at 12:20 am EDT

The bill which would have given a two-year window to bring a replacement of Obamacare was defeated by 55-45 votes yesterday in the Republican-majority Senate. Of the seven senators who voted against repealing Obamacare on Wednesday, six voted for the exact same bill in 2015 under President Obama, who vetoed the legislation.

Mrs Murkowski was one of two Republicans earlier on Tuesday to vote against allowing the debate on healthcare legislation reform to go forward.

While about 20 million people gained health insurance coverage through Obamacare, Republicans say the law has driven up premiums and forced consumers to buy insurance they do not want and can not afford. The bill fell well short, garnering only 43 Republican votes, with nine members of the Republican caucus voting with Democrats.

The Senate vote Tuesday is largely a procedural one.

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. Arizona Senator John McCain returned to Capitol Hill to cast a decisive vote to open debate, only a week after being diagnosed with brain cancer.

"I want to congratulate [the] American people", he added.

On Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence broke a 50-50 tie on a motion to proceed with debate about upending the current healthcare law.

Republican Sens. Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska opposed the vote for debate. But even with a majority in both chambers of Congress, Republicans have yet to make good on their promise to eliminate Obamacare.

If Republican senators elect to repeal key provisions of the law without immediately replacing it, the CBO estimates about 32 million consumers would lose insurance over the next 10 years.

"This "skinny repeal" strategy would keep the overhaul effort alive but amount to a tacit acknowledgment that broader efforts to revise or repeal the law can not succeed, even as Republicans control both Congress and the White House", according to the Washington Post.

The Senate is dedicating this week to having an open amendment process that lets lawmakers offer their ideas to change the bill. It's a process known in the Senate as "vote-a-rama".

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated the Senate's replacement bill could lead to as many as 22 million fewer Americans being insured.

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