Senate rejects Obamacare repeal in blow for Trump

Senate rejects Obamacare repeal in blow for Trump
The US Senate has not supported a “skinny” repeal of the previous administration’s healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), widely known as Obamacare.

The repeal failed by a narrow margin of 49 - 51. At least three Republicans voted "no," including John McCain, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski. It was GOP Senator John McCain who cast the decisive vote, killing the repeal.  

The bill's death in the Senate is seen as a blow to President Donald Trump. The US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) described the move as it as “a disappointing moment.”

The "no" vote followed long Senate debates on the controversial Health Care Freedom Act.

Trump took to Twitter to show his dissatisfaction with the result, saying those who voted “no” let down Americans.

READ MORE: GOP splits further as 'skinny' Obamacare repeal may get rewritten in conference

Earlier, Republicans expressed concern that the “skinny" bill wasn't ready to become law without further conferencing with the House. The bill suggested repealing Obamacare's employer mandate until 2025 and cutting funding to abortion providers like Planned Parenthood for one year. 

READ MORE: 15mn Americans would opt out of Obamacare if they could – CBO

A total of 16 million Americans could have been left uninsured if the lawmakers had passed the plan, according to Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates.

The controversial replacement of the healthcare bill has long been debated in the Senate. However, Republicans - who hold the majority - had to delay the vote due to McCain’s illness.

MсCain, who has voiced his opposition to the existing healthcare law, believes the proposed "skinny repeal" failed to meet the goals of replacement, including increasing competition, lowering costs, and improving care.

“We must now return to the correct way of legislating and send the bill back to committee, hold hearings, receive input from both sides of aisle, heed the recommendations of nation’s governors, and produce a bill that finally delivers affordable health care for the American people,” the senator said in a statement. 

Some have taken to Twitter to slam the Senate vote, with one person calling McCain a "traitor."

Others celebrated the defeat of the “skinny repeal" and lauded the Republicans who made it possible by going against their fellow party members.

It is unclear what the Trump administration plans to do in order to repeal the previous administration's healthcare law. The US president is a strong critic of Obamacare, and its replacement was one of his key campaign promises.