Image credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.
The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved a bill repealing the bulk of the Affordable Care Act in a vote of 52 to 47 that largely went along party lines.
The bill goes back to the House of Representatives and, if approved, will be sent to the White House where President Barack Obama is expected to veto the bill.
The bill would also defund Planned Parenthood. Three Republican senators, all moderates, voted against the bill for this reason.
The ACA repeal and defunding of Planned Parenthood was included in a budget reconciliation bill that needed only a simple majority to pass, rather the usual 60 votes required.
Democrats have been able to block past repeal attempts.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called the repeal a victory for middle class families.
"On their medical choices. On the affordability of their care. On the availability of their doctors and hospitals. On the insurance they liked and wanted to keep," McConnell said in a statement. "... We will vote to build a bridge away from Obamacare and toward better care."
McConnell said he hoped the House would do the same, leaving the choice with President Obama.
"He can defend a status quo that's failed the middle class by vetoing the bill, or he can work toward a new beginning and better care by signing it," McConnell said.
The repeal would be phased in over two years to give the federal government and states time to come up with a replacement program, according to McConnell.
Democrat and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid condemned the repeal attempt in a statement made Thursday.
"Every day the Republican Leader comes to the floor and rails against Obamacare," Reid said. "And yet, more than ten percent of his constituents are benefitting from the Affordable Care Act."
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The measure guts Obamacare by repealing authority for the federal government to run healthcare exchanges and scrapping subsidies to help people afford plans bought through those exchanges, according to The Hill. It takes away the penalties on individuals who do not buy insurance and on employers who do not offer health insurance.
The bill also repeals the over-the-counter medicine tax, the prescription drug tax, and an annual fee on health insurers, The Hill said. It also reduces the threshold of healthcare costs that can be deducted from 10 percent to 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income.