Senators killed the GOP’s “skinny” Obamacare repeal bill, called the Health Care Freedom Act of 2017, in a 49-51 vote early Friday morning.
The bill would have eliminated the penalty on people who decline to get insurance, thereby removing a piece of Obamacare that has long drawn conservative ire. It also would have suspended the medical device tax for three years while allowing greater contributions into Health Savings Accounts.
And the bill would have made it easier for states to get waivers from the federal government, giving them a little more leeway to redirect money that’s supposed to help people buy health insurance. The precise effect of that particular provision is a little unclear.
GOP leaders tried to assure caucus members the point of the bill was merely to push the process along ― to get the debate to the next stage, so that House and Senate leaders can negotiate and come up with a bill that’s acceptable to both chambers.
But that promise wasn’t enough for three Republican senators, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who cast one of the crucial no votes that doomed the bill.
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