Sen. Tim Scott defends vote to repeal Affordable Care Act

Updated: Jan. 12, 2017 at 6:16 AM EST
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WIS) - South Carolina Senator Tim Scott is one Republican who voted on a measure that begins the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act.

In a session that lasted early into Thursday morning, the Senate voted 51-48 on a nonbinding Republican-backed budget measure that will set up special rules that will allow the repeal vote to take place with a simple majority in the 100-member Senate, instead of the 60 votes required to move most legislation.

Only one Republican voted no: Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.

"Obamacare has completely met our expectations – that it will fail," Scott said in a statement released after the vote. "Americans were promised they could keep their doctor, and that turned out to be false. Prices were supposed to decrease, and they didn't. Our middle class is feeling the burden of rising premiums, out-of-control deductibles, and lack of insurance options and choices. Obamacare is predicted to cost the American tax payers more than $1 trillion over the course of the next several years. Even worse, reports show that Americans are in worse health now than they were in before Obamacare was enacted into law."

The passing of this measure would permit follow-up legislation to escape any filibuster threats by Senate Democrats. The House will vote on the measure Friday.

Democratic senators argued that without a plan in place, millions could lose coverage. Senator Bernie Sanders said in chambers, "If that happens, many of these people will die."

Republicans have promised to come up with a plan to replace the ACA, commonly known as Obamacare. In a news conference Wednesday, President-elect Trump said a plan to replace the law will be rolled out once Trump's nominee for Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is confirmed.

About 212,000 South Carolina residents have health insurance coverage through the ACA exchange. South Carolina is one of 23 states that chose not to expand Medicaid to roughly 250,000 people living below the poverty line. Only one company offers coverage through the ACA exchange in South Carolina.

"This is a personal issue to me because it has negatively impacted our folks in South Carolina, and across the country," Scott's statement continued. "Insurance companies have fled our state's marketplace exchange, and many of our constituents are left with only one option for healthcare. That is likely why insurance premiums rose an average of 28% from 2016 to 2017. The basic tenets of economics will tell you that competition drives down cost, and as we look forward, we should return to a free market system that creates more choices for the American consumer."

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