Senate vote fails to repeal, replace Obamacare

AP News in Brief at 6:04 am EDT

AP News in Brief at 6:04 am EDT

The failure crystalized the new reality for Republicans: more than seven years after the enactment of Obamacare, there is growing recognition within the GOP that a straight repeal of the law is not viable. On Wednesday, a vote is scheduled for the Senate's repeal-only bill, which should shed some light on who wouldn't be swayed by that option.

Nine GOP senators said no to the Better Care Reconciliation Act on Tuesday: Susan Collins of Maine, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Dean Heller of Nevada, Mike Lee of Utah, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

If today's vote is unsuccessful, the Senate will continue voting on amendments this week in hopes of passing one. It is based on a plan that Congress passed in 2015 knowing that it would face President Barack Obama's veto.

The BCRA was a bad bill, one that was far less about repealing unpopular provisions like the individual mandate than it was about cutting traditional Medicaid spending (reform that is needed but doesn't really have anything to do with Obamacare).

Despite voting "yes", he took a lecturing tone afterward and hardly saw success assured for the legislation after weeks of misfires, even after Tuesday's victory for Trump and Republican leader Mitch McConnell.

With two legislative approaches having been rejected by Republicans - the comprehensive measure and then the repeal-only measure - Democrats were left wondering what exactly Republican leaders were cooking up and how they could reasonably expect senators to vote on that legislation in just a day or two.

"I think that takes a lot of courage, and I think we should all be grateful for her boldness", she said. We all knew repealing Obamacare would be hard, but the simple fact remains: The time is now for Republicans to act on health care, even if they have to do it by taking small steps at a time.

"I committed to the voters of SC seven years ago, three years ago and again last year that I would work to repeal and replace Obamacare with a health care system that focuses on patients and doctors, not bureaucrats in Washington", he said.

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"Repealing mandates and taxes, without new spending and bailouts". CBO scored a similar plan two years ago and estimated that it would leave 15 million more people uninsured over a decade, as compared to current law, and cause premiums to spike 20%.

This plan is simply a feigned retreat; the Republican leadership's end game most certainly includes cutting financial assistance for people buying insurance in the individual market, ending the ACA's Medicaid expansion, and capping federal support for the remaining Medicaid program.

How the process unfolds from here and what the Senate votes on next remains to be seen.

Trump has been pushing lawmakers to deliver on their promises to repeal and replace.

However there is no guarantee that the Republicans can agree on this plan across the Senate and the House.

Alexander's "no" vote was perhaps the most surprising.

The "skinny" repeal bill being considered by the Senate is likely to repeal the individual insurance mandate, as well as the employer mandate and the medical device tax. Vice President Pence had to come to the Senate chamber to break the tie and allow debate to start.

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