Key senators resist Republicans’ ‘skinny’ Obamacare repeal

JUDY WOODRUFF: Republican efforts to pass health care reform ran into even more roadblocks this evening. A group of key senators balked at voting for what some have called the last resort, a version labeled skinny repeal. This came as plans were laid for debate and maybe a final vote later tonight.

Our Lisa Desjardins begins our coverage.

WATCH: These Republican senators say they won’t vote for ‘skinny’ health bill unless there’s broader debate

LISA DESJARDINS: A long day of debate setting up a longer night of votes, with Republicans stressing the failures of Obamacare.

SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER, R-Tenn.: Conditions have changed in Tennessee. Our insurance market is — quote — “very near collapse.” That means that up to 350,000 individuals in our state, songwriters, workers, farmers, who buy their insurance on individual market are sitting there worrying in July and in August whether they will have any option to buy insurance in 2018.

LISA DESJARDINS: And Democrats insisting that Republicans’ plans could mean no choices, especially for the poor.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, I-Vt.: Where there is a serious disagreement is, we say that the children of this country who have serious illnesses have the freedom to stay alive, even if their parents do not have a lot of money.

LISA DESJARDINS: The debate all leading lead up to a whirlwind called vote-a-rama. Senators will take up amendment after amendment with little debate and five-minute votes. All or nearly all are expected to fail. Then, at the end of the legislative marathon, comes the key moment.

Republicans plan to propose the one idea they think could pass now: a stripped-down, minimal repeal. It would abolish Obamacare’s individual and employer mandates, as well as one tax on medical devices. It would leave Medicaid and much of the rest of the Affordable Care Act essentially unchanged.

Some on Capitol Hill call it the skinny repeal, but the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found it would mean 15…

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