By Sandra Emerson Staff Writer
Created: 02/02/2011 05:22:19 PM PST

As expected, the Senate has rejected a Republican attempt to repeal the year-old health care law.

The ultimate fate of the controversial law is expected to be determined by the Supreme Court. But congressional Republicans emboldened by gains in last fall’s elections have made a priority of trying to wipe it off the books.

All 47 members of the GOP voted for repeal.

There were 51 votes in opposition, 50 Democrats and one independent.

California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said she is pleased the effort to repeal the law failed.

“This law may not be perfect, but overturning it would mean once again refusing insurance to anyone with a pre-existing condition, higher drug prices for seniors, and increasing the millions of Americans without health coverage,” Feinstein said in an e-mailed comment.

Feinstein said she pledges to work with her colleagues on both sides of the aisle to improve the bill.

The House voted last month for repeal, but the action was viewed as symbolic because of opposition from Senate Democrats and a veto threat from President Obama.

California’s other Democratic senator, Barbara Boxer, said Republicans should join the Democrats in improving health care reform instead of fighting old political battles of the past.

As an example, she cited the vote made earlier to repeal a part of the law that put a heavier paperwork burden on businesses.

“We should not go back to the days where 62 percent of all bankruptcies were linked to a health care crisis and 45,000 people a year died because they could not get access to health insurance,” Boxer said.

The next steps Republicans, along with Democrats, should take in addressing the health care law, would be revisiting and defunding parts of the bill, said Robert Rego, chairman of the San Bernardino County Republican Party.

“I think that the Congress needs to move in both directions,” Rego said. “They need to start looking at revisiting the bill and in that process the defunding of certain aspects may be a part of that revisit.”

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