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Senate Votes Down ObamaCare Repeal 49-51

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WASHINGTON -

Senate Republicans' attempt to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act died early Friday, with three GOP senators -- Sen. John McCain, Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Lisa Murkowski -- voting against the proposal. 

"So ... this is clearly a disappointing moment," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said right after the bill failed.

Even a last-minute attempt by Vice President Mike Pence to persuade McCain to vote for the bill failed. McCain was key in an earlier Senate vote on the motion to proceed with efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, and many of his Republican colleagues looked to his return to the Senate as a sign that they would be able to pass some kind of health overhaul.

"From the beginning, I have believed that Obamacare should be repealed and replaced with a solution that increases competition, lowers costs, and improves care for the American people. The so-called 'skinny repeal' amendment the Senate voted on today would not accomplish those goals," McCain said in a statement released after the vote.

The veteran Arizona senator said assurances from Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan that the House would be "willing" to try and improve upon the "skinny repeal" bill in conference "does not ease my concern that this shell of a bill could be taken up and passed at any time."  

Oklahoma Senator James Lankford issued the following statement after the vote:

“I’m deeply disappointed that the Senate was unable to repeal and replace Obamacare. For years, I and my staff have worked to develop solutions to our national healthcare crisis. After months of work and debate, we were one vote short. It is my concern that rates will continue to skyrocket and insurance options will continue to fade. In Oklahoma, the tax penalties of Obamacare mostly fall on people who make less than $50,000 a year. I will continue to work to get relief for all Oklahoma families who daily deal with the consequences of Obamacare. While some have benefited from the subsidies of Obamacare, it is clear that an equal number have also been harmed from the law. We should not stop working to find solutions to a law that has caused so much damage to our economy and our healthcare delivery system.” 

The Health Care Freedom Act would have repealed key GOP objections to the ACA, including the individual and employer mandates and the medical device tax. The bill also cut off funding for Planned Parenthood. An amendment to the bill passed on Thursday also repealed the so-called "Cadillac" tax on the most robust and expensive health care plans.

President Trump, who urged senators to pass the skinny repeal bill in a tweet before the vote, chastised the three Republican dissenters and all their Democratic colleagues in a tweet early Friday morning, saying they had "let the American people down."

It's unclear what the House will do next. The House GOP caucus was expected to convene to figure out its next steps Friday, but that was before the latest bill failed.

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