July 28 (UPI) — The Republican Party suffered a major loss after its “skinny repeal” of the Affordable Care Act failed to win enough votes to pass the Senate.
“We worked really hard to try to develop a consensus for a better way forward,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said during a speech on the Senate floor after the vote. “This is a disappointment — a disappointment indeed.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer took the floor to say that although Democrats succeeded in holding off a Republican-led repeal of the current healthcare law, the debate over how to proceed with the country’s healthcare system isn’t over.
“We are not celebrating,” he said. “We are relieved that millions and millions of people who would have been drastically hurt by the three proposals will be able to retain their health care.”
He added: “Obamacare wasn’t perfect. But it did a lot of good things and it needs improvement.”
The specific contents of the bill voted on early Friday morning wasn’t delivered in detail to the Senate until 10 p.m. Thursday night.
What McConnell gave the Senate to vote on was an eight-page bill called the Health Care Freedom Act.
The bill would have ended both the individual mandate that financially penalizes people who don’t have health insurance, as well as the requirement that employers of a certain size provide healthcare coverage options to employees.
It would have also delayed a medical device tax and defunded Planned Parenthood for at least one year, while increasing grants to community health centers.
In addition, health insurance companies would have no longer been required to provide a minimum standard regarding maternity care and prescription drugs.
A Congressional Budget Office analysis estimated that the bill would have increased the number of uninsured people in the U.S. by 16 million over the next 10 years.