For the first time since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed five-and-a-half years ago, and after dozens of symbolic repeal votes passed the House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate finally approved a bill to gut central portions of the landmark health law. 

The bill passed 52-47, with all but two Republicans voting in favor and all Democrats against. The two dissenting Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Mark Kirk of Illinois, cited a provision of the bill that strips federal funding from Planned Parenthood for their opposition. Another Republican who generally supports abortion rights, Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, ended up voting for the bill after much speculation that she would also defect. 

The major victory for Republicans comes in the "yea" votes from Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Utah Sen. Mike Lee, all of whom had signaled that they would oppose an earlier incarnation of the bill because they believed it did not go far enough in dismantling the health law. Without their votes, the bill could not have passed. 

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