WASHINGTON (KDKA/AP) – The Senate has passed a measure to take the first step forward on dismantling President Barack Obama’s health care law.

The nearly party-line 51-48 vote came on a nonbinding Republican-backed budget measure that eases the way for subsequent repeal legislation that could come to a vote next month.

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Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania voted in favor of the measure. Democrat Sen. Bob Casey voted against it, and later lamented the result on Twitter.

“I think it would be a shame to go without it or to have something not as effective; and there are flaws, but I think that it has a done a really good job in helping people get health insurance,” said Hannah Callahan, a Pennsylvania resident in support of the Affordable Care Act.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has said while the Affordable Health Care Act isn’t perfect, it’s a first step to universal health care. He says without the Affordable Care Act, more than one million Pennsylvanians will not have access to health care.

According to a new study from Harvard Medical School and New York University, an estimated 180,526 Pennsylvanians suffering from mental illness or drug abuse would lose access to mental health services if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. Of those, 80,910 were enrolled as part of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

Gov. Wolf’s office has vowed to fight to protect health insurance and treatment for substance use disorders, calling it essential to battling the opioid and heroin public health crisis.

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The House is slated to vote on the measure on Friday, though some Republicans there have misgivings about setting the repeal effort in motion without a better idea of the replacement plan.

Passage of Thursday’s measure would permit follow-up legislation to escape the threat of a filibuster by Senate Democrats. Republicans are not close to agreement among themselves on what any “Obamacare” replacement would look like, however.

President-elect Donald Trump said Wednesday that repealing and replacing the law would happen “essentially simultaneously.”

“I don’t think it’s going to be as broad in coverage immediately, but I do believe that in the first year, he can get something almost as good in place,” Katherine Wood, a Pennsylvania resident who opposes the Affordable Care Act.

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