Thursday, 17 August, 2017

Republican 'repeal-only' health care measure fails in Senate

Donald Trump John McCain's return sets stage for big Senate health bill vote
Lamar Ellis | 28 July, 2017, 00:24

Republicans have been under heavy political pressure to make good on their longstanding campaign promises to gut the 2010 law, which they view as a government intrusion in the healthcare market.

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. Even though most votes will require only 51 votes for passage, the 52-seat Republican majority is split on key health care issues, making various GOP proposals unable to win support. If that procedural vote succeeds, the House bill would then be open for amendment on the Senate floor. Rand Paul introduced the amendment - within two years, and come up with a replacement plan in the meantime. He said, "Now we move forward towards truly great health care for the American people..."

The "skinny" plan would eliminate the Obamacare requirement that most Americans carry health insurance as well as the requirement that employers with at least 50 full-time employees offer coverage to their workers and rescind the tax on medical devices.

The Senate finished for the night after the BCRA failed; the upper chamber will continue to try to coalesce around a bill that 50 GOP senators could vote for on Wednesday.

Forced into a vote by Donald Trump, the Senate has so far failed to pass a bill to repeal and/or replace Obamacare.

Republican leaders have scaled back their ambitious goal of completely repealing Obamacare because they couldn't find agreement among their own members on how to go about it.

President Trump tweeted his thanks to the Arizona senator for playing "such a vital role" in the vote.

"Ultimately, we want to get legislation that will finally end the Obamacare status quo through Congress and to the president's desk", he said.

At the time, Senator John McCain, who ultimately voted to advance the bill, chided his leadership for crafting it behind closed doors and cast doubt on its future, saying its failure "seems likely". Nine Republicans joined all Senate Democrats in opposition.

While the text of the "skinny repeal" bill hasn't been released yet, the bill would be nowhere near as extensive as the full-repeal plan or the BCRA.

The non-partisan Congressional Budgetary Office (CBO) found the bill would strip 22 million Americans of health insurance over the next decade.

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