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Tiebreaker Vote in Senate Opens ACA Repeal, Replacement Debate

A Senate vote that took place in the afternoon opened the possibility of debate and additional amendments to the American Health Care Act.

A Senate vote has opened future discussion on the American Health Care Act.

Source: Thinkstock

By Thomas Beaton

- In a 50-50 procedural vote, Vice President Mike Pence broke the tie as the US Senate voted to open debate for a future vote on American Health Care Act (AHCA), and the possible addition of amendments to the bill.

After failing to garner enough votes to pass their original ACA repeal and replace bill, the Better Care and Reconciliation Act (BCRA), Senate GOP leaders moved forward in their support of the original House bill by opening the procedural vote, which was affirmed by Pence's final vote. The vote kept the possibility alive to replace the ACA with a new federal healthcare policy.

With the BCRA out of the picture, the AHCA emerged as the domineering repeal and replace healthcare bill for GOP policymakers in both the Senate and House.

After a slim margin, the AHCA passed the House in a turbulent legislative process that created a divide between leading policymakers and healthcare experts. Constant criticism of the bill lead to a last-minute pull of the original vote on the bill.

While House GOP leaders applauded the bill with a Rose Garden celebration, the AHCA has fallen under scrutiny from healthcare experts following a CBO score that estimates 23 million Americans will lose health insurance.

Since the MTP passed, the vote in the Senate also opens the possibility of significantly changing or abandoning the original House bill and recreating a Senate version of healthcare reform that is likely to significantly alter the current policy landscape.

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