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Senate Rejects "Skinny Appeal"

With John McCain (R-Ariz.) casting the deciding vote, the U.S. Senate by a vote of 49-51 has rejected the measure to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare."

Senate Republicans, after campaigning for 7 years on repeal and replace, have failed to pass any kind of healthcare bill.

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine joined McCain in rejecting the measure, which would have repealed mandates on individuals to obtain insurance, and on large businesses to provide coverage for their employees. Additionally, it would have delayed taxes on medical devices.

Democrats reportedly left the Senate chamber after the early Friday morning vote high-fiving each other.

Earlier in the day Thursday, America's Health Insurance Plans, a major lobbying group for insurance companies, sent a message to Senate leaders saying that dropping the mandates to purchase health coverage would produce "higher premiums, fewer choices for consumers and fewer people covered next year."

David O. Barbe, MD, president of the American Medical Association said, "While we are relieved that the Senate did not adopt legislation that would have harmed patients and critical safety net programs, the status quo is not acceptable. We urge Congress to initiate a bipartisan effort to address shortcomings in the Affordable Care Act.

"The first priority should be to stabilize the individual marketplace to achieve the goal of providing access to quality, affordable health coverage for more Americans."

McCain, in a statement after the vote said, "The so-called skinny repeal amendments the Senate voted on today, would not accomplish those goals. While the amendment would have repealed some of Obamacare's most burdensome regulations, it offered no replacement to actually reform our healthcare system and deliver affordable quality healthcare to our citizens."

A beleaguered Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell said, "This is clearly a disappointing moment...I regret that our efforts simply were not enough, this time.

"It's time to move on," he said.

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