World

Senate readies for showdown over 'skinny' bill

WASHINGTON: US Senate Republicans yesterday began their final push to unravel Obamacare, seeking to wrap up their seven-year offensive against former Democratic President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law that extended insurance coverage to millions.

Republicans leaders hope a pared-down "skinny" bill that repeals several key Obamacare provisions can gain enough support to pass after several attempts at broader legislation failed to win approval.

The skinny bill's details were expected to be released at some point, before the Senate embarks on a voting session that could extend to this morning (tonight, Singapore time).

The effort comes after a chaotic two-month push by Senate Republicans to pass their version of legislation passed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives in May.

OPTIMISTIC

Republicans were optimistic about the skinny bill's chances of receiving at least 50 votes in the Senate where they hold a 52-48 majority.

Senator John Cornyn, the chamber's No. 2 Republican, said the bill, once approved, would go to a special negotiating committee of lawmakers from both chambers that would reconcile the House and Senate versions into a single piece of legislation.

The Senate voted 55-45 on Wednesday against a simple repeal of Obamacare, which would have provided a two-year delay so Congress could work out a replacement.

On Tuesday, senators rejected the repeal-and-replace plan Republicans had been working on since May.

The Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan research agency, estimated that the skinny bill could lead to 16 million people losing their health coverage by 2026.- REUTERS

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