The Senate on Wednesday rejected a measure that would have repealed major parts of the health care law but would not have provided a replacement, signaling that the “clean repeal” bill that conservatives have embraced cannot get through Congress.
The vote, 45-55, underscored the bind that Republican leaders have found themselves in. Seven Republicans voted against the measure — Sens. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Susan Collins of Maine, Dean Heller of Nevada, John McCain of Arizona, Rob Portman of Ohio, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — showing that repealing the health law without an immediate replacement lacks crucial support among Republicans.
But a more comprehensive measure that would have repealed major parts of the law with a ready replacement also came up short Tuesday night.
With neither approach viable, Senate Republican leaders may have no choice but to fall back on a third choice: Push a far more limited measure that repeals parts of the health care law, such as its mandate that most people have insurance and a tax on medical devices, but leaves most of President Barack Obama’s signature health law in place. Senators would then take their narrow bill into negotiations with the House, which passed a comprehensive measure to repeal and replace the health care law.
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