In their ongoing quest to kill Obamacare, Senate Republicans have failed in their second effort to overhaul the ACA. This follows Tuesday’s failure to pass a repeal and replace bill (the revised Better Care Reconciliation Act, which included an amendment from Ted Cruz)—the measure needed 60 votes, and received only 43. Wednesday’s partial repeal amendment, which would have rolled back certain parts of Obamacare without destroying the entire thing, needed just a simple majority to pass. Unfortunately for Mitch McConnell, but fortunately for millions of Americans who stand to lose their health insurance, seven Republicans dissented, and the bill failed by a score of 55-45.
The dissenting Republicans were Susan Collins, Dean Heller, and Lisa Murkowski, all of whom also voted no in the repeal and replace effort yesterday, and Lamar Alexander, Shelley Moore Capito, Rob Portman, and John McCain, who were on the “aye” side Tuesday. Six Republicans who voted on Tuesday’s bill switched sides on Wednesday.
Alexander’s “no” vote was perhaps the most surprising.
This latest bill would have partially repealed the Affordable Care Act in two years, but with no replacement. Among other items, it included a ban on federal funding for abortion. Per the Times:
The vote underscored the bind that Republican leaders have found themselves in. Repealing the health law without an immediate replacement lacks crucial support among Republicans, but a more comprehensive measure that would have repealed major parts of the law with a ready replacement also came up short on Tuesday night.
The last gasp for Republicans seems to be a measure that repeals even fewer portions of the ACA—the individual mandate, most notably—but leaves most of it intact. If the so-called “skinny repeal” were passed, negotiations with the House would begin.