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US Senate delays vote on health bill as McCain recovers

WASHINGTON The US Senate will defer its work on repealing and replacing Obamacare as senior lawmaker John McCain recovers from surgery to remove a blood clot above his eye, the chamber's Republican leader said.

The health care reform bill, a central campaign pledge by President Donald Trump and many of his fellow Republicans, has already neared collapse, with two Republicans publicly opposing it.

It would likely fail without Mr McCain's vote.

"There are few people tougher than my friend John McCain, and I know he will be back with us soon," Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.

"While John is recovering, the Senate will continue our work on legislative items and nominations, and will defer consideration of the Better Care Act."

Mr McCain's office said the lawmaker, "in good spirits and recovering comfortably at home with his family", would recover in Arizona through next week.

Achieving Mr Trump's goal to end predecessor Barack Obama's 2010 sweeping reforms has been elusive in the first six months of the new administration.

Several Republicans in the party's conservative and moderate wings have expressed deep concerns over the latest draft unveiled last Thursday.

With the Democrats united in opposition, Mr McConnell needs support from at least 50 out of 52 Republicans to pass the measure in the 100-member chamber.- AFP

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