Bill to repeal Obamacare fails in Senate

US Senate sets crucial healthcare vote as McCain makes dramatic return

Seven Republicans rejected a measure repealing major parts of the Affordable Care Act without replacement on Wednesday; the 45-55 defeat signaled that a "clean repeal" bill can not get through Congress. A provision that allows the sale of association health plans would also require 60 votes for adoption. Skinny repeal, in other words, would be nothing more than a way for GOP senators to suppress their disagreements by committing to no particular policy at all.

Without the state waivers, the skinny repeal bill appears to be limited to eliminating Obamacare's individual mandate and its employer mandate and possibly defunding Planned Parenthood. Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Susan Collins (Maine), Dean Heller (Nev.), John McCain (Ariz.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and Rob Portman (Ohio) with a final vote of 55-45, according to CNN.

Senate Republicans now face a choice between several contrasting options: a discarded and possibly untenable plan to replace Obamacare; a measure that repeals it without implementing a replacement; and a so-called "skinny repeal".

The repeal bill was the same one passed by Senate Republicans in 2015, when President Barack Obama was in the White House and vetoed the legislation. Wednesday's partial repeal amendment, which would have rolled back certain parts of Obamacare without destroying the entire thing, needed just a simple majority to pass. But it would also have kept in place certain insurance-market reforms, including a requirement for insurers to guarantee coverage for pre-existing conditions.

"Pilots like to know where they're going to land when they take off", Alexander said, "and we should too".

Senators will now continue debate on a health care bill that could leave most of the Obamacare provisions intact.

The day after the Senate voted to move forward with the GOP health care plan, the first attempt at repealing Obamacare has fallen short.

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The Byrd rule generally blocks provisions that don't affect the federal budget - and blocks provisions whose changes to spending or taxes are "merely incidental" to a larger policy objective.

Conservatives have aggressively pushed to unwind Obamacare's insurance regulations, but the Senate rules have proven hard to work around. It went further than other Republican proposals in terms of repealing the law.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) heads to the Senate floor for a vote on health care legislation, on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 26, 2017. This vote to consider a bill that kicks more than 20 million people off of their health care is utterly shameful but we can not throw up our hands when it is time to roll up our sleeves.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price described the approach as finding the "lowest common denominator" of what Senate Republicans can pass with the 50 votes they need, along with a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence.

"If this process ends in failure, which seems likely, then let's return to regular order", McCain said as he chided Republican leaders for devising the legislation in secret along with the administration and "springing it on skeptical members".

Though the Senate has yet to release details, the "skinny repeal" plan would likely eliminate the individual mandate, which requires almost all Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty, and the employer mandate, which obligates larger companies to provide affordable coverage to their full-time workers.

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