Senate Fails - So Far - to Repeal Obamacare

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said even though the proposal failed, it represented a number of important healthcare reform ideas developed by lawmakers.

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.

When the Senate voted Tuesday evening on the bill's initial amendment, it underscored how hard it will be for the chamber's divided Republicans to pass a sweeping replacement of Obama's law.

Ten days after undergoing brain surgery, Mr McCain travelled to Washington from Arizona to cast his vote in a crucial vote on healthcare.

The vote, which included nine defecting Republicans, underscored problems the divided GOP will face despite President Donald Trump's victory lap earlier Tuesday night.

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.

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. Among them were Susan Collins of ME, the moderate who has consistently opposed the Senate's bills, and John McCain, who returned from brain cancer treatments in Arizona to cast a pivotal vote Tuesday to start debate.

A separate Democratic amendment to send the health-care plan to the Senate committees with instructions to shield the Medicaid program from cuts failed by a 48-52 party-line vote.

Republicans hold a 52-48 majority in the 100-member Senate.

Since the landmark health care law was passed in 2009, GOP leadership has voted to repeal the law several dozen times. "And now we move forward toward truly great health care for the American people", Trump said.

If something - anything - passes, the next step is negotiations with the House to resolve differences in the bill.

If successful, the full House and Senate would again have to approve the measure.

Getting rid of the individual mandate with no other changes to the bill, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would leave 15 million more Americans without healthcare by 2026.

  • Jacqueline Ellis