The US Senate voted to begin debate on how to repeal and, eventually, replace the healthcare reform implemented by former President Barack Obama, although it is still not known what the final form of the bill might be.
Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday, presiding over the Upper House, had to use his tiebreaking authority to overcome the impasse between Republicans and Democrats, given that conservative Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski voted against the motion to begin debate on the bill, Efe news reported.
Senate Republicans are not in agreement on how to overturn ObamaCare, but President Donald Trump has been relentlessly pressuring the GOP to push forward with some kind of healthcare reform and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell convened the vote to begin debate without a concrete text for the bill in hand.
So far, the three bills presented to attempt to overturn ObamaCare have not managed to garner Republican consensus, and thus Trump and the party — although it holds a majority in the Senate — have been unable to fulfill one of their key campaign promises.
Senator John McCain of Arizona, despite his recent diagnosis of brain cancer, returned to Washington exclusively for Tuesday’s session so that he could vote on the motion to begin debate on the health care matter.
McCain reportedly voted to begin debate, despite the fact that various analyses have estimated that some 24 million people would lose their health care coverage over the next decade if Republicans manage to push through some kind of bill to overturn ObamaCare.
All Senate Democrats, along with Collins and Murkowski, voted against the motion to begin debate.
However, about half a dozen Republican lawmakers kept their cards close to the vest until the last moment on how they would vote, having expressed serious doubts about the legislative alternatives to ObamaCare presented to date.
In the meantime, the mini-victory does not guarantee that Republicans will be able to find consensus within their ranks for some kind of bill to repeal ObamaCare.