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AKIPRESS.COM - U.S. Senate Republicans narrowly agreed on Tuesday to open debate on a bill to end Obamacare, but the party's seven-year effort to roll back Democratic President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law still faces significant hurdles, Reuters reported.
The Senate deadlocked 50-50 on moving forward with the healthcare debate, forcing Vice President Mike Pence to cast the tie-breaking vote.
Senator John McCain, who was diagnosed this month with brain cancer and has been recovering from surgery at home in Arizona, made a dramatic return to the U.S. Capitol to cast a crucial vote in favor of proceeding.
Nine Republicans, ranging from moderates such as Susan Collins of Maine to conservatives such as Rand Paul of Kentucky, voted against the bill, which would have made deep cuts to Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor, and reduced Obamacare subsidies to lower-income people to help them defray the cost of health insurance.
Earlier McCain, 80, received an ovation from his fellow senators when he entered the chamber to cast a vote to open debate. After that vote, he decried growing partisanship in the Senate and urged members to learn how "to trust each other again."
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or nicknamed Obamacare, is a United States federal statute enacted by the 111th United States Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. Together with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act amendment, it represents the U.S. healthcare system's most significant regulatory overhaul and expansion of coverage since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. The Act's major provisions came into force in 2014. By 2016, the uninsured share of the population had roughly halved, with estimates ranging from 20–24 million additional people covered during 2016.