Three Democratic senators Thursday voted against a package of fixes to the new healthcare law signed by President Barack Obama this week.

Sens. Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.) had announced earlier that they would oppose the alterations and voted likewise Thursday afternoon.

The other Democratic senator to vote against the fixes was Mark Pryor, Lincoln's Arkansas counterpart.


The fixes make corrections to the Senate's healthcare bill, which the House passed on Sunday night. That night, the lower chamber also approved the fixes that night.

Senators approved the measure 56-43 using the budget reconciliation process, which allowed them to sidestep a Republican filibuster and approve the bill using a simple majority vote. 

The fixes were intended to correct portions of the Senate's bill that House members did not like.

The three senators who opposed it are all centrists. Lincoln and Nelson were late to give their backing to the Senate's bill that passed in December.

Both senators said they oppose the student lending provisions that were included in the process because they were unrelated the healthcare law.

Lincoln, who now faces a primary challenge, said that she opposed the use of the reconciliation process because it is not "transparent."

Nelson opposed it even though it removed the so-called "Cornhusker Kickback" that provided Medicaid funds for his home state. Nelson wanted the controversial provision removed, saying it was only a placeholder for states to later acquire more funding for the government health insurance program.

The reconciliation bill removes the provision and provides additional Medicaid funding for all states.

The bill now heads back to the House because minor corrections to it had to be made because the Senate parliamentarian ruled that some parts of it regarding student lending could not be considered using the reconciliation rules, which is strictly meant for budget items.

No Republicans votes for the measure. The only senator not to vote was Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) who is hospitalized in Atlanta because of a minor bacterial infection.

The vote was taken with Vice President Joe Biden presiding over the Senate in his constitutional role as president of the upper chamber.