WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – The U.S. Senate has taken the first step towards dismantling the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act (ACA).
In an early morning nearly party-line vote of 51-48 the Republican led Senate passed a budget measure that eases the way for action on subsequent repeal legislation as soon as next month. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was the lone Republican who voted ‘no’ to un-do so-called “Obamacare.”
After a seven hour debate, the 21 minute vote got underway just after 1 a.m. Democrats stood up one by one during roll call.
“I vote no” was their response to repealing the ACA.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders led the late night fight.
“Up to 30 million Americans will lose their health care, with thousands dying as a result, because if you don’t have health insurance and you can’t go to a doctor or hospital you will die,” said Sanders.
Scrapping Obamacare is a top priority for Republicans who are under pressure from President-elect Donald Trump to act fast.
“The Obamacare bridge is collapsing and we are sending in a rescue team and we will build new bridges to better health care and then finally close the old bridge,” said Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyoming.
Trump has promised a replacement for the health care act, but many say that could take years.
The U.S. House is expected to vote on the legislation on Friday. A final repeal of the ACA could come as early as next month.