WASHINGTON -- The Senate on Wednesday rejected the Republican effort to repeal the 2010 health care law, a vote likely to reverberate politically as both sides used the debate to make partisan points they see boosting them for 2012 elections.

The final vote was 51-47 against repeal, which needed 60 votes to pass. The outcome was no surprise because Democrats control 53 of the Senate's 100 seats, and none supported repeal. But the two days of partisan bickering over the measure underscored how this issue continues to dominate political discussion and is likely to for some time.

The Senate did agree to one change Wednesday, voting 81-17 to repeal a paperwork requirement that business interests found chafing.

The change, which is expected to win approval from the House, would erase a requirement that businesses must report to the government purchases of goods or services of more than $600 from single vendors during a single year.

President Barack Obama singled the provision out for extermination in his State of the Union Address last week.

Other alterations won't come so easily.

In the Senate debate, most Democrats aggressively defended the health care act that Obama signed into law 10 months ago.

Republicans had political success in 2010 painting the law as an expensive, unprecedented government intrusion into people's lives.

Officials in 27 states, including South Carolina, agreed and urged the courts to overturn the law.

The Republican-dominated House approved repeal last month. Senate Republicans saw this week's debate as a momentum builder.

The law "is a partisan power grab that cannot stand because it will irreparably harm our economy and the health of our citizens," said Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.

Democrats countered that Republicans are obsessed with fighting last year's battle instead of working to create jobs.