After seven years of emphatic campaign promises, Senate Republicans demonstrated Wednesday they don't have the stomach to repeal "Obamacare" when it really counts, as the Senate voted 55-45 to reject legislation undoing major portions of Barack Obama's law without replacing it.
But as the day began, it wasn't clear whether there would be 50 Republican votes for any GOP health plan in the Senate - skinny or not. "Either that bill passes or those senators (who vote against it) will be held responsible for preserving the Affordable Care Act in the minds of their Republican voters".
Johnson, who has been critical of Senate GOP leaderships' handling of the process, was the last Senate Republican to cast their vote on a procedural motion that allows the debate to move forward.
Though the party won the vote, it will be an uphill battle for them to repeal Obamacare. "Instead, we ask senators to work with governors on solutions to problems we can all agree on: fixing our unstable insurance markets", a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Schumer said. "Ultimately, we want to get legislation to finally end the failed Obamacare status quo through Congress and to the president's desk for his signature", he said.
Tuesday night's BCRA vote and Wednesday's expected vote on repeal are largely for show at this point as neither was expected to pass from the outset. Murkowski responded that she was "comfortable" with her vote.
But senators have also considered a "skinny bill", a far narrower measure that would scale back some of the more controversial elements in an effort to get a wider consensus.
Senators will now launch into long hours of debate, with Republican conservatives and moderates divided over how to proceed.
Forecasts by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office on various health reform bills have predicted that millions of Americans would lose health care if the measures become law. "I'm for repealing this broken law and replacing it with something better that gives patients more choice, decreases costs and increases access to quality, affordable care". The analysis found that the number of uninsured people would increase by 15 million next year compared with current law, and Democrats said they were told that premiums would be roughly 20 percent higher.