The 52 people who are deciding the fate of health care in America

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Senate Move On U.S. Spending Bill Sets Up House Obamacare Fight

A statue of George Washington stands in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda below the Apotheosis of Washington fresco in in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013. Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The two chambers of Congress were designed to be equal. But, let’s be practical. In the modern history of legislating, the U.S. Senate — with its close margins and 60-vote threshold for most bills — has been the bigger driving force in what becomes law.

And right now in the Senate, the 52-member Republican caucus determines what can pass in a reconciliation bill. Here are some vital stats on the 52 people deciding the fate of the health care overhaul.

  • Medicaid: 25 of the 52 senators represent states where 20 percent or more of their state is covered by Medicaid.
  • Medicaid expansion: 20 of the 52 GOP senators represent states which opted for the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. A majority, 32, represent states without the Medicaid expansion. (Overall, a majority of states expanded Medicaid).
  • Up for re-election: Nine Republican senators are up for election or reelection this year or next year.
  • Remember the Obamacare debate? Some 30 GOP senators – the majority – were not in the Senate during the one-year-plus debate on the Affordable Care Act. 22 were not in Congress at all.
  • Average age: That would be 61.6, meaning nearly half of Senate Republicans are approaching or have already reached Medicare age.
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