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Senate Health Care Bill Sinks Again

Christian Worstell

by Christian Worstell | Published October 17, 2023 | Reviewed by John Krahnert

The latest attempt at an Obamacare repeal once again fell short in the Senate late Thursday night.

After voting on Tuesday for a motion to open debate about health care reform legislation, the GOP-sponsored bill ultimately did not garner enough Republican support to pass in a vote that took place on the Senate floor well after midnight.

Three Republican senators — Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK) and John McCain (AZ) — broke rank to vote against what was dubbed a “skinny repeal” of Obamacare. The proposal was a pared-down version of earlier efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. With all 48 Democratic senators also voting against it, the bill suffered a 49-51 defeat in what was likely a last-ditch effort to make good on the Republican campaign promise of a repeal.

The proposed bill was set to repeal the ACA’s individual and employer mandates, temporarily repeal a tax on medical devices and defund Planned Parenthood for one year. The bill also would have given states further flexibility to allow insurance companies to sell policies not in compliance with Obamacare regulations.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill also would’ve left 15 million additional people uninsured in 2018 compared to current regulations with another 16 million more by 2026. Premiums were also projected to increase 20 percent more than current regulations in 2018.

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What’s Next for Health Care?

After Congress went 0-for-3 in 2017 on attempts to first repeal and replace, then repeal only and finally a “skinny” or partial repeal, many are left wondering what’s now at stake for health care in America.

Obamacare will remain in place for the time being and Congress will likely focus on improving some of the shortcomings of the Affordable Care Act instead of continuing with full reform efforts. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell said after the vote that it was “time to move on” to other legislation.

The Senate floor has a packed schedule for the fall which includes legislation on the nation’s debt ceiling, nominations, the National Defense Authorization Act, appropriations bills, the 2018 fiscal year budget and potentially even tax reform. And with Congress slated for its annual recess in August, “repeal and replace” is unlikely to be considered again by either the House or Senate any time soon.


Christian Worstell is a health care and policy writer for He has written hundreds of articles helping people better understand their Medicare coverage options.

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