Senate Republicans on Tuesday took a tentative step toward fulfilling seven years of promises to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), something they achieved only after the dramatic return of Senator John McCain, who was diagnosed last week with brain cancer.
The procedural vote, which passed without the support of a single Democrat, allows the Senate to open debate on repealing and replacing the ACA, popularly known as Obamacare, even though it remains unclear exactly what legislation they will be voting on.
Fifty Republicans voted yes, and two – Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska – voted no. Vice-president Mike Pence’s tie-breaking vote was required to pass the measure.
The fact that a vote simply to open debate was seen as a victory for the Republicans is a measure of how difficult the GOP has found it to overhaul Barack Obama’s healthcare law, which extended health insurance to nearly 20 million more people.
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