Senate Health Bill Clears Key Hurdle. What Now?

Sen. John Mc Cain is set to return to the Senate on July 25 less than a week after announcing he had brain cancer to provide a critical vote for Republican leaders who need to clear a procedural hurdle in their quest to repeal the Affordable Care Act

The decision earlier Wednesday marked a significant milestone in the Republican party's years-long political crusade to gut former President Obama's legacy health care law.

Only 10 senators voted for the second measure, a symbolic proposal known as the Heller amendment. Murkowski responded that she was "comfortable" with her vote.

But to press Republicans to unveil their "skinny repeal" plan, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Thursday evening Democrats would stop offering amendments during the remaining debate time until the final GOP proposal was revealed.

About 20 million Americans gained healthcare coverage under Obamacare, but Republicans viewed it as an overreach of the federal government and said patients had less choice and higher premiums.

Under today's proposal, the individual and employer mandates would be repealed, the Medicaid expansion and federal subsidies would be ended, and numerous law's taxes would be rolled back.

The GOP's failure to repeal and replace Obamacare since becoming the majority party has been described as an abject embarrassment for many Republican lawmakers, as well as President Trump.

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A vote is expected Wednesday on a repeal bill that passed the Senate and the House two years ago but was vetoed by Obama.

Trump has repeatedly grilled fellow Republicans for not following through on their - and his - campaign pledge to repeal and replace 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.

First, on Tuesday, the Senate voted 50 to 50 to open the debate, with Vice President Mike Pence then breaking the tie. "Don't let the American people down!", the president wrote.

John McCain came to Donald Trump's rescue to help push through a key Senate vote to abolish Obamacare, in a dramatic return to Congress following surgery for brain cancer. Both a repeal and replace bill and one that would just repeal the ACA and kick the replacement can down the road failed to get to 50 votes. If a compromise is reached, it's back to the Senate and House to vote on it.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated the Senate's replacement bill could lead to as many as 22 million fewer Americans being insured.

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