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Posted: July 25, 2017

Oklahoma senators react after Senate votes to move forward with health care bill

By Greg Brown

News | KOKI


Quick facts:

  • Both U.S Senators from Oklahoma voted to begin debate on a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act Tuesday.
  • Vice President Mike Pence split an even vote to move forward with the bill.
  • The Senate will now begin formal debate.


U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe and James Lankford (R-Oklahoma) are responding after the Senate voted to move forward and begin debate on a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act Tuesday.

WATCH: FOX23 streamed the vote live on Facebook

Both senators were among the 50 Republicans who voted in favor of moving forward with a procedural motion to begin debate on a Senate bill. Vice President Mike Pence split the vote after 46 Democrat, two Independent and two Republicans voted against the move.

The vote does not implement any specific bill, but it allows for the Senate to begin formal debate that could produce a bill that senators vote to approve or deny.

The Republican effort to repeal and replace Former President Barack Obama's signature health care law has taken the center stage in American politics as President Donald Trump has increased pressure on Capitol Hill to act.

Trump praised the Senate for moving forward on health care repeal, saying the vote "was a big step" at a joint press conference with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri

The debate over the bill will now move forward in the Senate. Supporters of Tuesday's move say repealing the current health care law will drive down prices and increase access to health care, while those who oppose the motion say the repeal of the Affordable Care Act will cost millions of Americans access to quality health care.

The Tuesday vote came as Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) returned to the Senate to vote to move forward despite his recent battle with brain cancer.

McCain gave a speech after the vote.

Inhofe released a statement after the Tuesday vote:

“Now is the time to begin debate on the repeal of Obamacare. Oklahomans are suffering—premiums have tripled in the last three years, four rural hospitals have closed and only one insurance provider remains on our exchange. Obamacare has not brought down costs nor enabled competition. Today’s vote begins debate on repealing what has proven to be a disastrous healthcare law. By voting yes, I am committed to repealing Obamacare, providing relief to suffering Oklahomans.”

Lankford also released a statement:

"Today, I voted to start debate and begin the amendment process to repeal and replace Obamacare,” said Lankford. “This was the first step to provide Oklahomans relief from the problems of Affordable Care Act. In Oklahoma, we are down to only one health insurer on the individual market and have experienced an average premium increase of 76 percent in 2017. Across the nation, health care premiums in the exchange are increasing by an average of 25 percent this year. We must debate reforms that will lead to more affordable and practical options for Oklahomans of all socioeconomic levels and all health conditions.


“I know many Oklahomans are confused about what they hear in the media about this health care conversation. Today’s vote was only a step forward to discuss how we can best protect Americans from the higher costs and decreased choices forced by Obamacare. At the heart of this conversation are people, and we must not lose sight of that. We cannot let the extreme voices of fear and hyperbole prevent a substantive conversation about how to protect families in poverty and ensure greater choice for everyone.”

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