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Republicans forced to delay US health care bill vote

REPUBLICANS FORCED TO DELAY US HEALTH CARE BILL VOTE

The Senate's Republican leadership was forced Tuesday to put off a hotly-anticipated vote on their plan to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's signature health care law, lacking the needed votes.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters the bill will now be voted on after the July 4 recess, dashing his hopes to hold a vote this week.

"We're still working toward getting at least 50 people in a comfortable place," McConnell said, adding that he is "optimistic" the stymied bill will get through the chamber.

McConnell's efforts to advance the bill have been hindered by intra-party opposition to the plan. McConnel can afford to have at most two Republicans vote against the bill with the party holding just 52 seats in the 100-member Senate.

So far, at least four Republicans senators have voiced opposition to the bill -- some warning of its cuts to key program while others saying it does not go far enough in rolling back Obama's Affordable Care Act.

All Democrats and Independents are expected to oppose the measure.

The delay comes one day after the Republican plan was assessed to result in 22 million additional people lacking health care by 2026 compared to Obamacare.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said in its evaluation that those hardest hit by the Republican legislation would be the elderly who have lower incomes.

The bill would, however, reduce the federal deficit by $321 billion -- mainly by instituting deep cuts to Medicaid, a government program intended to provide health care to Americans with low-incomes.

Following the bill's delay, President Donald Trump invited all Republican senators to the White House to discuss ways to ensure it passes the chamber, the White House said.

"The president is optimistic that Republicans will live up to the promise that they've been making to the American people for seven years by repealing and replacing Obamacare," spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

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