Senate Republicans notched a setback in their quest to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act Tuesday night, after their first of three possible plans to make good on that promise failed in a procedural vote.
The Better Care Reconciliation Act failed by a vote of 43 to 57, with nine Republicans voting against the proposal. It came just six hours after the party celebrated advancing the health care repeal bill to debate.
This version of the BCRA would slash Medicaid funds and repeal some of the Affordable Care Act regulations. It included an amendment from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that would, for all intents and purposes, create more expensive high-risk pools for people with pre-existing conditions.
While the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office didn’t score all of the bill’s components, an estimate that did not include the Cruz amendment said it would leave 22 million people without health insurance and raise costs for large swaths of the population.
The nine Republicans who voted against the proposal were notable in that they didn’t include moderate members who had raised concerns with the plan.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) — who, hours earlier, said he wasn’t in favor of the Senate bill in its current form — voted for the BCRA.
So did moderate GOP Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, who for weeks had raised concerns about the bill’s Medicaid cuts.
While the BCRA failed, Republicans still have other plans to offer as amendments to the bill.
They include a straight Obamacare repeal bill that the CBO estimates would cause 32 million people to lose their coverage, as well as double premiums. A so-called “skinny repeal” that would nix the individual mandate as well as some Affordable Care Act taxes may also be offered. The CBO says that plan would also raise costs and cause 15 million people to lose their insurance.
It’s unclear if any of those plans can pass as the Senate spends the next 20 hours on debate.