The Senate failed to advance the legislation on Thursday, as all Democrats and six Republican senators voted in favor of it, including five in competitive races: Cory Gardner of Colorado, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Susan Collins of Maine, Martha McSally of Arizona and Dan Sullivan of Alaska. But other Republicans up for reelection, including North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, Georgia Sen. David Perdue and Montana Sen. Steve Daines, voted against it. The vote was 51 to 43.
Senate Democrats blocked that legislation on a party-line vote. Democrats say Republican plans to protect pre-existing conditions have fallen short upon close examination, portraying them as political exercises rather than real policy proposals.
At a news conference after the vote, Schumer said he had not misplayed the issue and given vulnerable Republicans an unexpected opportunity to demonstrate their support for pre-existing conditions by backing the bill.
“When you flip your vote a few weeks before the election, the American people see right through it. These senators are worse off today no matter how they voted because they flip-flopped,” Schumer said. “They can’t hide from all their votes to repeal the ACA and this new vote only shows their hypocrisy.”
When Democrats pushed through the health care law along party lines in 2010, it drew scorn from many voters — and many in their own party distanced themselves from the legislation.
“Ultimately, Senate Democrats want to eliminate private health insurance in favor of government-run socialized medicine,” said Perdue in a statement on Wednesday. “Bottom line, no matter what happens to Obamacare, the best way to protect people with pre-existing conditions and expand access to coverage is through free market solutions, not government-controlled healthcare we know won’t work.”
This story has been updated with additional developments Thursday.