The preliminary finding complicates any further efforts by Republican leaders in Congress to pass a comprehensive GOP-only overhaul of the health care law.
Sanders, a Vermont independent, in a statement called the determination a “major victory” for those who oppose Affordable Care Act de-funding.
Senate Republicans, who control the chamber 52-48, failed to win enough support for their ACA de-funding and change bill in July as three GOP lawmakers joined Democrats to oppose the measure. Republican leaders haven’t ruled out reviving their effort, and some party members — including Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Ted Cruz of Texas — say they’re talking to colleagues about a possible broad-based bill.
At the same time, some senators are discussing a scaled-back, bipartisan health measure. It takes 60 votes to overcome a Democratic filibuster, and Democrats are united against de-funding of the Affordable Care Act, or the kinds of Affordable Care Act program changes proposed in the bills that have reached the House or Senate floor.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has scheduled four hearings this month to examine bolstering the Affordable Care Act public health insurance exchange system.