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Senate blocks repeal-and-replace proposal



The Senate voted to reject Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s latest proposal to repeal and replace ObamaCare on Tuesday. Nine Republicans opposed the Kentucky senator’s plan.

Those rejecting the latest version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) included moderate GOP senators – who oppose the changes made to Medicaid – as well as conservatives – who feel that the proposed legislation does not go far enough to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). They were Susan Collins of Maine, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, 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 Texas. The proposal, which was rejected 43-57, required 60 votes as it had not been scored by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

Some of the highlights of the bill included a proposal based on Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s Consumer Freedom Agreement, which would enable insurers to offer low-cost health insurance policies as long as they also offer at least one plan which is in keeping with ObamaCare’s requirements, as well as an extra $100 billion for those hit by the slower growth of the Medicaid program.

Earlier in the day, the Senate voted to begin debate although Vice President Mike Pence was forced to cast the tie-breaking vote after Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski voted against proceeding to debate. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer, returned to Congress to take part in the vote which prompted Mr. Trump to describe him as a “very brave man.”

The president described the 51-50 vote as a “giant step” toward repealing ObamaCare.

“The Senate must now pass a bill and get it to my desk so we can finally end the Obamacare disaster once and for all,” he said in a statement.

The Senate is today expected to vote on a repeal bill that passed the Senate and the House two years ago before being vetoed by Obama. Should McConnell lose the vote – and this is highly likely – the Senate will be asked to consider amendments to repeal parts of ObamaCare on Thursday. Only those expected to garner 50 votes will be considered.

However, McCain sounded a note of warning yesterday.

“We Republicans have looked for a way to end [ObamaCare] and replace it with something else without paying a terrible political price. We haven’t found it yet and I’m not sure we will,” he told his GOP colleagues.

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