Senate’s critical health care vote: What happens next

By Health Care FOXBusiness

(J. Scott Applewhite / AP)

The Senate voted Tuesday to open debate on overhauling the United States’ health care system.

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"Now we move forward towards truly great health care for the American people … this is a truly great step," President Trump said at the White House Tuesday.

As the GOP seeks to gather support as it begins debating its options, here is what we know about the pathway forward.

Motion to proceed

On Tuesday, the Senate voted on a motion to proceed, which allows them to take a bill up for consideration on the Senate floor. The bill they voted to take up was actually the House GOP bill passed in May; however, the debate process will allow senators to consider amendments and changes that they have since introduced.

Two Republican senators voted against the motion, causing Vice President Mike Pence to step in as the tie-breaking vote. Trump referred to the decisions of those two senators, Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), as “very, very sad for them” on Friday.

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The bills and amendments

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It is still unclear exactly which route the GOP intends to take up at this time: a repeal and replace plan or a repeal-only measure. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Tuesday on Twitter he has the intention of backing the 2015 clean repeal bill, which only requires a simple majority for approval under the reconciliation process. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said he will not support the repeal and replace plan in its current form.

The repeal and replace bill put forward by Senate leadership, known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act, faces some additional challenges. On Tuesday, Sen. Paul suggested Sen. McConnell told him this bill would require 60 votes to pass, and thus support from 8 Democrats, which would be extremely challenging. This is because the parliamentarian said the bill in its current from does not fit the reconciliation requirements.

There is a third option that has been floated called the “skinny repeal.” This would essentially be a watered down version of a repeal-only measure targeting the individual mandate and some of the ObamaCare taxes, according to a report from Vox.

Timeline

President Trump said he believes within the “next week or two” the party will come up with a plan that will be “really wonderful for the American people.”

Meanwhile, McConnell told reporters Tuesday he is hoping to finish on the health care bill by the end of the week.

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