Moments before the American Health Care Act, the GOP’s offering to replace Obamacare, was scheduled to be voted on, President Trump and Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, abruptly pulled the bill from the floor when, reportedly, it became clear the legislation would not receive enough votes to pass.
Trump and Ryan spent much of this week frantically trying to drum up support for the controversial plan after continued opposition from key Republicans made a favorable vote from the House seem increasingly unlikely.
Despite days of negotiations, ultimatums and concessions from Trump and his team, bill opponents were unwavering. The majority of pushback came from hardline conservatives who refused to back the bill feeling it’s not a far enough departure from Obamacare. A smaller portion of holdouts included moderate Republicans who felt the bill, particularly the cuts on Medicaid, would leave too many of their constituents without health insurance.
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee said, “Unfortunately, the legislation before the House today is currently unacceptable as it would place significant new costs and barriers to care on my constituents in New Jersey,” reported Politico earlier today.
Millions estimated to lose coverage
Earlier this month, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) released its score of the American Health Care Act. The findings confirmed many of the worries centering around how many Americans will keep or potentially lose coverage under the new legislature.
The CBO and JCT determined that twenty-four million more Americans would be uninsured by 2026 than under the ACA, including 14 million by next year, reported CNN. Further raising concern was the committee’s revelations about Medicaid’s future under the new bill. “5 million fewer people would be covered under Medicaid by 2018, and 14 million fewer people would enroll in the program by 2026,” said CNN. The news was not much better for Americans covered by the individual market—6 million fewer people would be covered by 2018, but by 2026, only 2 million fewer people are expected to be covered. By 2026, approximately 52 million Americans would be without health insurance.
Paul Ryan indicated that the drastic decrease in the number of people covered under the new GOP plan, anticipated by the CBO and JCT, is a result of insurance no longer being a government mandate—an unpopular provision from Obamacare eliminated from the new bill.
American healthcare remains in limbo
What’s next for healthcare is unclear but Ryan said in a press conference this afternoon that “Obamacare is the law of the land.”
From the start, the GOP replacement bill received criticism. Many felt the process itself was rushed, particularly pushing the bill forward without a score from the CBO. Various groups ranging from hospitals and doctors to patient advocates were against the bill, STAT reports, arguing “it would lead to fewer people, particularly older, sicker, and poorer Americans, having access to health care.”
Apparently those concerns coupled with the rebellion from within the party were enough to sink what was the first big legislative deliverable from the Trump administration. Questions remain—will GOP lawmakers reconvene and come up with a reworked plan? Or will Trump keep his promise from earlier this week that if the vote doesn’t pass, Obamacare stays?
Either way, Trump didn’t mince words upon taking office that his plans were to repeal and replace Obamacare to provide “insurance for everybody.” No doubt, voters will be expecting him to deliver, at some level, on this promise.