KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Senate Votes To Open Debate On Health Care After Unusual Push To Floor By Leadership

Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote for the Senate to begin debate on health care legislation. Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska were the two Republican hold outs.

The Associated Press: Senate Opens 'Obamacare' Debate At Last But Outcome In Doubt
Prodded by President Donald Trump, a bitterly divided Senate voted, at last, Tuesday to move forward with the Republicans' long-promised legislation to repeal and replace "Obamacare." There was high drama as Sen. John McCain returned to the Capitol for the first time after being diagnosed with brain cancer to cast a decisive "yes" vote. The final tally was 51-50, with Vice President Mike Pence, exercising his constitutional prerogative, breaking the tie after two Republicans joined all 48 Democrats in voting "no." (Werner, 7/25)

Los Angeles Times: With Pence Breaking A Tie, Senate Votes To Begin Debate On Obamacare Repeal Bill
To get to this point, McConnell had to abandon the customary legislative process, forgoing public hearings and committee debate in a way almost never seen for major legislative proposals. And he left Republican lawmakers with a series of legislative options — which polls show are deeply unpopular with Americans — that would leave as many as 32 million more people without health coverage and weaken health protections for tens of millions more. (Levey, 7/25)

The Associated Press: Republicans Collins, Murkowski Oppose GOP Health Vote
Two Republican senators — Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — broke with their party and opposed the Senate vote to move ahead on a health care overhaul. The votes by the two women drew criticism from President Donald Trump, who said, "So we had two Republicans that went against us, which is very sad, I think. It's very, very sad for them." (Daly, 7/25)

Politico: McConnell Gets A Win In Obamacare Repeal Opening Round
The Senate faces several days of heated debate and tough votes, with the final outcome in doubt. Can Republicans actually repeal and replace Obamacare? Or simply repeal it? Can they roll back the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, which resulted in millions of more enrollees? What about eliminating Obamacare taxes? And defunding Planned Parenthood? What about a “skinny repeal” bill that would get rid of the employer and individual mandates under Obamacare while leaving almost all the rest of the legislation in place? All this is still up in the air. (Bresnahan, 7/25)

The Hill: Senate Votes To Begin ObamaCare Repeal Debate 
The Senate on Tuesday began debate on healthcare legislation, taking a big step forward in its effort to repeal ObamaCare, after Vice President Pence broke a 50-50 tie to cast the deciding vote. Two Republicans, Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine), voted with Senate Democrats against the procedural measure, highlighting the narrow margin of error the White House and GOP leaders face in getting a repeal bill to President Trump. (Sullivan, 7/25)

The Baltimore Sun: Senate Narrowly Votes To Begin Uncertain Health Care Debate 
Reviving their touch-and-go effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Senate Republicans narrowly agreed Tuesday to begin debate on an undefined health care bill that could change how millions of Americans obtain insurance. In a dramatic showdown that required Vice President Mike Pence to break a tie vote and that prompted Republican Sen. John McCain to return to Washington days after a cancer diagnosis, the Senate agreed to start an unusual and grueling process of drafting legislation — amendment by amendment — on the Senate floor. (Fritze, 7/25)

Kaiser Health News: Postcard From Capitol Hill: What YouTube Didn’t Show You In Senate Health Care Vote
You had to be there. After days of uncertainty about whether Senate Republicans would vote to begin debating a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, it boiled down to a few tense minutes on the Senate floor. As the vote started shortly after 2 p.m. ET, 30 reporters crammed into the small hallway in front of the chamber, waiting for Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain’s dramatic arrival on the elevator. (Bluth, 7/25)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.