US Senate votes in favour of drafting Obamacare repeal bill

Bernie Sanders has claimed Republicans "have no idea how they are going to bring forth a substitute proposal."

US Senate votes in favour of drafting Obamacare repeal bill

Picture by Jon Elswick AP/Press Association Images

The US Senate has voted in favour of drafting a bill to repeal the health insurance scheme known as Obamacare.

Under the Affordable Care Act - a signature programme of outgoing President Barack Obama - around 20 million previously uninsured Americans gained health coverage.

However, it has also faced severe opposition since its inception - including from Republicans, trade unions and small business groups. It remains a divisive programme among voters, and concerns remain over its affordability.

The US Senate resolution, which was passed by a 51-48 majority, will be voted on in the House of Representatives next week.

Republicans in both chambers have said that scrapping Obamacare is a top priority for them.

President-elect Donald Trump has called the scheme a "catastrophe" which had to be replaced "very, very quickly".

However, efforts to replace the scheme have stalled, with no clear plans yet put forward on a replacement.

In a press conference yesterday, President-elect Trump said: "As soon as our [health] secretary is approved, and gets into the office, we will be filing a plan [...] and the plan will be repeal and replace Obamacare."

Senator Bernie Sanders claimed Republicans "have no idea how they are going to bring forth a substitute proposal."

In a tweet, he suggested: "We're the only major country not to guarantee health care as a right. Why are we debating whether to take it away from 30 million people?"

In a heated speech, he also highlighted high medicine prices in the US, saying "the time has come for us to stand up to the drug companies".