Washington, Jul 26 (EFE).- The US Senate rejected on Wednesday a bill that would have repealed ObamaCare after a two-year interval to allow time for development of a new health-care plan.
The bill failed by a vote of 55-45, as six members of the Republican majority joined Democrats in opposing the move to dump the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the signature domestic policy achievement of Barack Obama’s 2009-2017 presidency.
Having run for years on a vow to scrap the ACA, the GOP is struggling to fulfill that promise with Republican Donald Trump in the White House.
Late Tuesday, senators rebuffed a bill to replace the ACA with a set of proposals similar to the legislation that earlier passed the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and which the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projected would cause more than 20 million people to lose health coverage.
GOP moderates in the Senate are especially concerned about moves to cap spending on Medicaid, the federal health-care program for the poor.
On Wednesday, the two Republican senators most strongly opposed to the prospective ObamaCare replacements, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, were accompanied in voting “no” on repeal-only by Dean Heller of Nevada, John McCain of Arizona, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Rob Portman of Ohio and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.
McCain, diagnosed last week with brain cancer, made a dramatic return to Washington on Tuesday to help the Republican leadership win on a procedural vote to allow consideration of the health care legislation.
But even with the Arizona senator’s presence, Vice President Mike Pence had to cast a tie-breaking vote to allow passage of the motion to proceed.
The Republicans have only a two-seat majority in the Senate and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s last remaining option appears to be a bill described as “skinny repeal,” which would partially dismantle ObamaCare with a focus on provisions that enjoy broad support.