Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

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Senate effort to repeal Obamacare fails in 45-55 vote

Seven Republican senators defected from the GOP line.


Andrew Couts


Posted on Jul 26, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 10:40 pm CDT

The Senate on Wednesday rejected a bill that would have repealed major portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The partial repeal of the ACA, commonly called Obamacare, failed in a vote of 45 to 55. Late Tuesday night, the Senate also voted down Republican-crafted legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Every Democrat and independent senator voted against the Obamacare repeal. Seven Republicans also voted against the bill: Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Dean Heller (Nev.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Shelley Moore Capito (W.V.), Rob Portman (Ohio), and John McCain (Ariz.).

The vote comes amid a marathon debate in the Senate as Republicans attempt to pass legislation to overhaul America’s healthcare system. But opposition within the GOP ranks has resulted in a series of failed efforts that have resulted in no changes to the current law.

The version of an Obamacare repeal that failed would have cut spending under the ACA and reduced taxes on wealthy Americans and the health insurance industry. The bill would have cut 19 million people from Medicare by 2026, and increased premiums by an average of 25 percent by 2018 and 100 percent over the next 10 years. The legislation would have also saved the federal government an estimated $473 billion over the next decade but would have resulted in the greatest increase in the ranks of the uninsured out of any other option currently before the Senate.

In total, the CBO estimates that 32 million fewer Americans would have had health insurance in 10 years if this legislation passed without replacing Obamacare.

The Senate is now likely to consider a so-called “skinny” repeal of Obamacare before moving into conference with the House of Representatives to craft a more robust bill. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the skinny repeal—which would rescind the law’s requirements that individuals carry health insurance and employers offer coverage options, as well as some taxes—would leave 15 million fewer people insured by 2018 and 22 million by 2026. It would also result in a 20 percent average increase in premiums, according to the CBO. Unlike the other bills, however, Medicare expansion under Obamacare would remain intact.

Correction: The defeated repeal bill would cut Obamacare spending and certain taxes. The “skinny” repeal bill would rescind the individual and employer mandates. We regret the error.

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*First Published: Jul 26, 2017, 3:37 pm CDT