Senator John McCain deals hammer blow to Donald Trump's bid to dismantle Obamacare

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US Republicans failed spectacularly on Friday in their latest effort to dismantle Obamcare, leaving the party in stunned disarray and President Donald Trump’s dreams of repealing his predecessor’s health reforms on ice.

The extraordinarily tense vote – held in the dead of night – came down to the wire, with Republican Senator John McCain, only recently diagnosed with brian cancer, casting the deciding vote against the legislation.

“This was a disappointment, a disappointment indeed,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told colleagues after the vote.

Mr McConnell called his bill the Health Care Freedom Act, but among his colleagues it was known as “skinny repeal.” It’s not intended to become law, but to open a path for a House-Senate conference committee to try to work out comprehensive legislation Congress can pass and send to Mr Trump.

The amendment was a last resort for Senate Republicans to pass something – anything – to trigger negotiations with the House.

In addition to Mr McCain, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine voted with all Democrats to defeat the measure.

More to come.