The Senate voted 52-47 Thursday to pass legislation that would repeal large swaths of the Affordable Care Act, a bill certain to be vetoed by President Barack Obama.
Yet the legislation, passed under special Senate budget rules known as reconciliation, is still a significant accomplishment for Republicans, according to Politico. That's because it sets the stage for Congress' legislative strategy to repeal Obama's signature healthcare law should the GOP retake the White House.
"Aside from the posturing, it does open up some express lanes or procedural moves for a 2017 environment, in terms of what you can do legislatively," Thomas Miller, a healthcare policy expert at the American Enterprise Institute, told the publication.
The bill's passage also makes clear the Republicans' stance on the ACA, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) told the National Journal. "This sends a message that we're committed to repealing this and replacing it with patient-centered care," he said.
The bill repeals many of the ACA's key provisions, including the individual health insurance mandate, the employer mandate, the medical device tax and Medicaid expansion.
What's more, the legislation repeals the controversial Cadillac tax on high-cost health plans, which lawmakers from both parties--including presidential candidate Hillary Clinton--have pushed to roll back. Both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid voted for that amendment, The Hill notes, though it's unclear whether the White House would support any measure to repeal the tax.
Lawmakers have already had success with rolling back one minor provision of the ACA, passing a law that halts expansion of the small-group market. The two senators who led the effort to pass that law--a Democrat and Republican--said they think it could set a precedent for future bipartisan efforts to adjust the ACA.
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