Republicans defect, kill Senate effort to repeal Obamacare

Obamacare lives to see another day.

CREDIT: Screenshot/C-SPAN2
CREDIT: Screenshot/C-SPAN2

The Senate voted against the Health Care Freedom Act (HCFA) early Friday morning, with a vote of 49–51.

The so-called “skinny repeal” bill made serious cuts to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and would have left 16 million people uninsured by 2026. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), John McCain (R-AZ), and Susan Collins (R-ME) were the only Republicans who voted against the bill.

At this point, Republican lawmakers seem to have exhausted all options available to them for now in eliminating the ACA. The skinny repeal was the last route open for a Republican health care plan, and the latest bill to fail in the Senate this week. The Senate process has been rushed, secretive, and destructive since the beginning.

Several Senate Republicans expressed that they did not want the skinny repeal bill to become law, and sought to conference the bill with the House. Seeking a guarantee like this is unconstitutional, and it could have still become law in its original version. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the bill would leave 16 million more people uninsured by 2026, and drive up premiums by 20 percent.

A consecutive number of amendments were going to be introduced and voted on, in the so-called “vote-a-rama.” But since the biggest vote failed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) asked the Senate to move on.

The Affordable Care Act is safe for now.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

An earlier version of this piece stated that the 41–51. The correct vote was 49–51. We regret the error.