WASHINGTON D.C. – The American Health Care Act, touted by president Donald Trump as the replacement for Obamacare, has failed.
The bill was pulled before it received a vote at the House because it lacked the support it needed to pass. All Democrats and some Republicans opposed the AHCA, which has been referred to as “Trumpcare” by some legislators.
“The President has been working the phones and having in-person meetings since the American Health Care Act was introduced,” said White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer during a press briefing held before the 3:30 p.m. vote. “He’s left everything on the field when it comes to this bill. The President and congressional Republicans promised the American people that they would repeal and replace this broken system.”
“Speaker Ryan come up here and visit with (President Trump) to update him on the bill,” Spicer said. “They are continuing to discuss the way forward on this. The Speaker is updating him on his efforts.”
Hawaii’s Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard was one of the Democrats who spoke out on the House floor today, urging her colleagues to vote no on H.R.1628.
“People in my home state of Hawaiʻi and all across the country are in desperate need of serious health care reform, to bring down costs and increase access to quality care,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “The legislation before us, though, is not the answer—it perpetuates the problems. It’s a handout to insurance and pharmaceutical companies that literally pulls the rug out from those who are most needy and most vulnerable in our communities. While corporations rake in over $600 billion in tax breaks, many low-income Americans will see their coverage drop completely. Medicaid—a program that one in five Americans depend on for basic care—would be slashed by hundreds of billions of dollars, shifting costs to already-strained state and local governments. Our kūpuna—our seniors—could see their premiums increase up to five times more than young healthy people under the new age rating rules in this bill. Simply put, we need a health care system that puts people before profits. I urge my colleagues strongly to vote no against this legislation.”
In a media release, Rep. Gabbard noted the bill had the support of organizations like America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), which represents 1,300 health insurance companies nationwide, and was opposed by the AARP, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Hospital Association, the American Nurses Association, National Disability Rights Network, the AFL-CIO, the National Farmers Union, the National Education Association, among others.
Speaker Ryan addressed the media following the decision to pull the bill off the table.
“You’ve all heard me say this before: Moving from an opposition party to a governing party comes with growing pains. And well, we’re feeling those growing pains today,” Ryan said. “We came really close today, but we came up short. I spoke to the president just a little while ago, and I told him the best thing that I think to do is to pull this bill, and he agreed with that decision. I will not sugar coat this: This is a disappointing day fo us. Doing big things is hard. All of us. All of us—myself included—we will need time to reflect on how we got to this moment, what we could have done to do it better.”
“We were very close, and it was a very, very tight margin,” Trump remarked from the White House after the failure of the bill. “We had no Democrat support. We had no votes from the Democrats. They weren’t going to give us a single vote, so it’s a very difficult thing to do.”
“I’ve been saying for the last year and a half that the best thing we can do politically speaking is let Obamacare explode,” Trump said. “It is exploding right now. Many states have big problems — almost all states have big problems. I was in Tennessee the other day, and they’ve lost half of their state in terms of an insurer; they have no insurer. And that’s happened to many other places. I was in Kentucky the other day, and similar things are happening. So Obamacare is exploding. With no Democrat support, we couldn’t quite get there. We were just a very small number of votes short in terms of getting our bill passed. A lot of people don’t realize how good our bill was because they were viewing phase one. But when you add phase two — which was mostly the signings of Secretary Price, who’s behind me — and you add phase three, which I think we would have gotten — it became a great bill. Premiums would have gone down and it would have been very stable, it would have been very strong. But that’s okay.”