Health care bill: Senate votes on full Obamacare repeal

But now, with Republican President Donald Trump in the White House and ready to sign a bill, the stakes are real — as are the realities of voting to repeal the current health care law without a replacement in place.

When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested voting on the 2015 repeal bill last week, the idea drew swift pushback from his own colleagues. The amendment is not expected to pass on Wednesday, and its failure will once again help crystalize the new reality for Republicans: more than seven years after the enactment of Obamacare, there is growing recognition within the GOP that a straight repeal of the law is not viable.

The goal for McConnell at the moment is to find a way to get 50 Republicans to back a final bill — whatever it looks like.

As with the full repeal without immediate replacement vote, the GOP leadership is getting a sense of where their members are on various proposals, as well as testing out revised language with the parliamentarian on things like the Planned Parenthood defunding provision.

If McConnell can get 50 votes, he can bring the repeal/replace bill to conference with the House. That’s why the emergence of the “skinny repeal” option Tuesday is noteworthy — a scaled back version of repeal that would knock out the Obamacare mandates and some of the taxes. In no way would Republicans want something like to that to become law in isolation. But it may become an option just to get something across the finish line. Then they would hammer out details of a full repeal and replace proposal in the conference with the House.

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