Senate rejects GOP’s first health care bill after Pence vote

The Senate shot down the Republicans first attempt to repeal and replace the majority of Obamacare late Tuesday — hours after a slim win kept the conversation going.

The measure failed hours after the GOP celebrated a narrow victory with Vice President Pence casting a dramatic tie-breaking vote allowing the Senate to debate the future of the GOP’s push to revamp the nation’s health care policy.

Senators voted 57-43 late Tuesday to reject the plan in the first vote on an amendment to the bill.

Those voting “no” included nine defecting Republicans and all Senate Democrats.

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The measure, known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act, with an amendment from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), was not expected to reach the 60 votes needed to pass, but was to some extent seen as a measuring stick for future discussions.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) walks to the Senate floor for a procedural vote on the GOP heath care plan on Tuesday.

(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The vote underscores the problems the majority party will have in winning enough votes moving forward to dismantle the 2010 health care law.

The rejected proposal included language by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell erasing the Obama law’s tax penalties on people not buying insurance and cutting Medicaid.

Cruz’s amendment would let insurers sell cut-rate policies with skimpy coverage.

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And there was an additional $100 billion to help states ease costs for people losing Medicaid sought by Midwestern moderates.

Vice President Pence (R) and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus arrive on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

Vice President Pence (R) and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus arrive on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

A vote is expected Wednesday on a repeal bill that passed the Senate and the House two years ago but was vetoed by Obama.

Some Republicans are readying for a “skinny repeal,” a watered-down version of repeal with nothing to replace it.

The “skinny” plan would eliminate the Obamacare requirement that most Americans carry health insurance as well as the requirement that employers with at least 50 full-time employees offer coverage to their workers and rescind the tax on medical devices.

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With News Wire Services

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