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Obamacare Stays for Now; House Withdraws ACA Repeal Bill

Posted on Friday, March 24, 2017 9:44 PM

On Friday, March 24, House Speaker Paul Ryan withdrew the much-criticized bill to replace the Affordable Care Act from the floor. Ryan made this move minutes before the U.S. House of Representatives were about to vote on the American Care Act.

“This is a disappointing day for us. Doing big things is hard," Ryan said during a news conference Friday afternoon. "All of us, myself included, will need time to reflect on how we got to this moment, what we could have done to make it better.”

Ryan noted that Republicans would continue focus on other moving parts of their agenda, including tax reform and strengthening the border.

“I don't know what else to say other than Obamacare is the law of the land. It will remain the law of the land until it's replaced," Ryan said. “We're going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.”

Ryan said his main concern is that the ACA insurance market could collapse. “We'll try to prop it up but it's so fundamentally flawed that I don't know if it's possible.”

Trump reiterated Ryan's comments later Friday afternoon, stating that Republicans were "very close" but couldn't overcome the Republican criticism and lack of Democratic support.

“We'll end up with a truly great healthcare bill in the future after this mess known as Obamacare explodes," Trump said in the Oval Office Friday afternoon after the bill was pulled. “We learned a lot. We learned a lot about loyalty. We learned a lot about the vote-getting process. We learned a lot about some arcane rules in the House and Senate.”

For House Republicans, much of the last seven years has been focused on repealing the Affordable Care Act. In addition, it was an important promise in many GOP campaigns across the country, including Trump's.

On Thursday morning, Ultra-conservatives in the House rejected Trump's proposal to include a repeal of the ACA's minimum essential benefits requirement in the proposed American Health Care Act.
Members of the House Freedom Caucus said they needed more changes were to reduce health plan premiums, or else they would vote against it.

On Friday, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey announced his opposition due to the late revisions that were created to win over conservatives.

Those changes, he said, raised “serious coverage and cost issues.” In addition, republicans from states like New Jersey were nervous about the bill, which would end Medicaid expansion in 2020.

According to the Washington Post, as of Thursday afternoon, 37 House Republicans declared their disapproval of the bill. A handful of more moderate GOP members also declared their opposition
Just hours before the bill was repealed, Republicans on the House floor supported the bill, but agreed the proposal wasn't exactly what they wanted.

"We either pass a good but imperfect bill, or we keep Obamacare in place," Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Texas) said.

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