Republicans Reject Senate Leadership’s Healthcare Bill

Senate Leadership REUTERSAaron P. Bernstein.
REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein.

The Senate leadership failed to pass its healthcare bill, known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). Senate Republicans will continue to try to coalesce around a compromise repeal and replace bill.

The leadership’s BCRA failed 43-57; Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Corker (R-TN), Dean Heller (R-NV), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Rand Paul (R-KY) voted against the measure.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) voted for the BCRA, even though he publicly stated that he could not vote for the bill in its current form. McCain voted earlier on Tuesday to proceed with the process to pass a Senate healthcare bill.

The Senate finished for the night after the BCRA failed; the upper chamber will continue to try to coalesce around a bill that 50 GOP senators could vote for on Wednesday. Republican senators will offer amendments and new bills so that hopefully enough lawmakers will vote for a bill that will pass through the chamber. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell needs 50 senators to vote for a bill and have Vice President Mike Pence break the tie.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the Senate health committee chairman, explained:

Every senator, Republican and Democrat alike, will now have a virtually unlimited opportunity to debate and offer amendments to help put together a health care bill that helps Americans. Throughout this process, my focus will be on Tennessee, where 350,000 Tennesseans who buy their insurance in the collapsing individual market—songwriters, farmers, the self-employed, small businessmen and women—may find themselves with zero options in 2018 and 2019.

Sen. Paul revealed on Tuesday that the upper chamber will vote on his Obamacare repeal bill on Wednesday. Paul’s bill will likely repeal more of Obamacare compared to the leadership’s BCRA.

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