Senate Rejects The GOP Obamacare Repeal-Only Measure

US Senate sets crucial healthcare vote as McCain makes dramatic return

Senate Republicans face a do-or-die vote Tuesday to launch a new Obamacare repeal effort, as confusion reigns over what path President Donald Trump's party will take - and whether they even have the votes to move forward.

It would also repeal some of the taxes that the ACA put in place - most significantly, a tax on medical-device makers.

There are a number of healthcare bills that the Senate will consider, including versions the Better Care Reconciliation Act (the repeal-and-replace plan - one of which already failed a vote) and the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act (the repeal-only plan).

But there is at least some chance that the House could just pass the measure as is. That vote will likely happen Friday. Indeed, in a bit of a surprise, today's bill received two more Republican votes than yesterday's bill - which was itself depraved.

As for the ad spending in the health-care fight, here's what one of us has written: "The Republican senators whose votes are crucial to the fate of health care in America have faced a $15 million barrage of TV advertising from outside groups opposing the GOP legislation - and no air cover from any group backing the bills".

The Republican Party's ongoing efforts to pass legislation to weaken the Affordable Care Act is expected to culminate in the famous Senate process known as vote-a-rama, in which senators can introduce an unlimited number of amendments - often for the objective of driving home a political point and forcing colleagues in the other party to cast uncomfortable votes. Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Susan Collins of Maine, Dean Heller of Nevada, John McCain of Arizona, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Rob Portman of OH voted no. 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.

As with the full repeal without immediate replacement vote, the GOP leadership is getting a sense of where their members are on various proposals, as well as testing out revised language with the parliamentarian on things like the Planned Parenthood defunding provision.

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Democrats have balked at Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare, and have instead urged a bipartisan approach that would shore up public insurance exchanges that provide coverage to those without government- or employee-sponsored plans.

Throughout the week, Democratic aides said they were fully prepared to flood the zone.

The state waivers would have built on an existing Obamacare program that allows states to pursue their own health care plans. Both the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA) and the Senate-introduced Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) include these draconian changes.

Many senators say the measure would not become law as is because it is just a vehicle to start negotiations with the House in a conference committee.

In a statement announcing his decision to vote "yes" on the motion to proceed on Tuesday, Heller said his final decision would be simple: "If the final product isn't improved for the state of Nevada, then I will not vote for it; if it is improved, I will support it". Rob Portman of OH that would add an additional $100 billion to a stability fund that would help states transition individuals off of Medicaid.

"I think that takes a lot of courage, and I think we should all be grateful for her boldness", she said.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, was a major proponent of this repeal plan because it delivered what he called a "clean repeal" of the law.

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