Battle over Obamacare continues


WASHINGTON (KKTV) - Senate Republicans are one step closer to rolling back Obamacare. The Senate took its first vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday.

The 51-48 tally was split mostly along party lines and officially sparks the debate on a special budget measure.

Republican Sen. Rand Paul blasted fellow GOP lawmakers for ignoring the government's spiraling debt problem in their attempt to repeal President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

"The more things change, the more they seem to stay the same," Paul said in a scathing speech from the Senate floor. "What will the first order of business be for the new Republican majority? To pass a budget that never balances, to pass a budget that will add $9.7 trillion in new debt over 10 years. Is that really what we campaigned on? Is that really what the Republican Party represents?"

Paul standing next to a majority of democrats that support the Affordable Care Act.

"The Republican plan to cut health care wouldn't make America great again, " said Democrat and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. "It would make America sick again"

About 20 million people rely on the Affordable Care Act for their healthcare.

Democrats say Republicans will need to offer a viable alternative.

"Obamacare has failed," said republican and Vice President-elect Mike Pence. "All the promises of Obamacare have been shown to be false and broken promises."

Pence says it will be Donald Trump's "first order of business" as president -- to repeal and replace "Obamacare."

Trump has said he wants to keep in place some popular provisions of the law -- like ensuring coverage for people with pre-existing medical problems.

As Republicans prepare to do away with the health care law, President Barack Obama is urging Democrats to "keep up the fight."