The Republican effort to repeal Obamacare took a critical step forward on Tuesday as senators opened the way for a make-or-break vote that could increase the number of uninsured Americans by tens of millions.
Senate Republicans breathed a sigh of relief after 50 of their 52 senators helped them overcome a crucial hurdle, voting to begin debate on competing plans to repeal Obamacare after six months of struggling to fulfill a campaign pledge by Donald Trump.
The start of the vote was interrupted by protesters in the Senate gallery who launched into a resounding chant of “Kill the bill, don’t kill us”.
According to the independent Congressional Budget Office, Republican legislation to repeal Obamacare and do nothing else — one of the possibilities on the table — would cause the the number of people without health insurance to rise by 32m by 2026 to a total of 59m, more than any other proposal made by the party this year.
Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 snapped a three-day losing streak and hit a new record high thanks to a batch of encouraging earnings. The euro topped the $1.17 mark for the first time in more than two years as a two-day Federal Reserve policy meeting got underway.
In Asia Pacific equities, futures tip Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 index to gain 0.7 per cent at the open, while Tokyo’s Topix is set to climb 0.6 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is expected to rise 0.2 per cent.
Corporate earnings reports out today include Nintendo, Line, Japan Aviation, ASM Pacific, Hitatchi Kokusai, HDFC Bank and Nidec.
The economic calendar for Wednesday is playing second fiddle (all times Hong Kong):
- 09.30: Australia consumer price index
- 13.00: Singapore industrial production