The House of Representatives were set to vote on the Obamacare replacement bill on Thursday, but House Republicans pulled the plug on the vote last minute and many are starting to wonder why. Obviously early thought behind it is that the Republicans knew that it would not sustain enough votes to pass, so they pulled it to change things in hopes that people might actually do that.
Business Insider seemed to track down the reasons why the American Health Care Bill was held back. Basically, first and foremost, the party leaders simply failed to reach an agreement on it. One source noted that the GOP’s bill to replace Obamacare would of course be pushed to a later date. It is undetermined what day that is as of now, but it is expected that more agreements will happen by the time the bill hits the vote.
The real killer to the bill came down to conservative members of the GOP in the House Freedom Caucus, who demanded more concessions on repealing parts of Obamacare. The real voice from the group was Rand Paul, who noted that the GOP healthcare bill was “Obamacare-lite.” This made many take notice and it drew a lot of people away from the bill early on. Perhaps the biggest drawback came when the Congressional Budget Office put their numbers out on the bill.
It was noted then that the premiums could actually increase for the first few years of the bill. It would not be until President Donald Trump is up for re-election in 2020 that the bill would begin to lower premium costs for insurance plans. The CBO also noted that older Americans would end up paying more than younger Americans when it came to healthcare. On top of this, the CBO noted that it appeared more people would lose coverage under this bill than Obamacare if it stayed in place.
The House Freedom Caucus met with President Trump on Thursday, and the chairman of the group Mark Meadows said that no deal was agreed upon and that the GOP did not have enough votes to pass the bill at this time. Business Insider claims that the breakdown is really over the Freedom Caucus’ desire to repeal the essential health benefits program, which was part of the Obamacare bill.
In this, it was mandated that insurance companies cover basic health procedures such as prenatal care and preventative health services. Many people actually felt this was one of the best parts of Obamacare, as mainstream things that helped every American was going to be covered in their health insurance. Prenatal care alone was something that many felt Obamacare did a good job in helping out, as it helped millions of women have a family at a much lower cost.
Weirdly enough, the Freedom Caucus even pushed for a repeal of Obamacare’s provisions that prevented insurers from denying patients based on a preexisting condition. This was considered by many to be one of the worst things the GOP could do, as the entire idea of fixing healthcare was to make sure all had access to it and could not be denied by health insurance companies for any reason. They could before Obamacare went into place and it caused many Americans to be without healthcare coverage for years.
Moderate Republicans have reportedly worried that the concessions went too far, and that a handful came out against the bill for being too severe. There were even threats to sink the entire healthcare bill by the GOP. Interestingly, House Speaker Paul Ryan also had to postpone his scheduled press conference. After his press conference was postponed, that was when the report on the bill push-back was reported.
Reuters then reported, citing senior aides, that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told the senators not to expect a vote on the bill until Monday. Earlier in the day, Republican Tennessee Representative Phil Roe told reporters that the vote would not happen Thursday after meeting with the committee chairs and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Clearly this turned out to be right. Roe expected the bill vote to be on Friday, but there is no confirmation yet.
Of course, Paul Ryan consistently said the vote would be on Thursday, and even White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said he was expecting the vote would continue as scheduled during the press briefing on Thursday afternoon. Nothing has been voted on regarding healthcare even still. Roe expects something on Friday, but it could take more time to come up with a changed bill that would have everything needed to pass.
According to the New York Times, so far in their tracking of the bill through public statements regarding the healthcare vote, at least 31 House GOP members are against the GOP healthcare plan. Meanwhile, 15 others were expressing doubts about the healthcare bill. In order for the bill to pass, only 22 of the House Republicans can vote against it. Any more and it won’t get enough support.
With 31 against the healthcare bill as is, it may take a lot longer than a day to draw more support. This is even with some minor tweaks. Despite this, the Senate is expected to change some things around and throw it back down to the House of Representatives. Citizens observing this issue should not expect a new healthcare bill to get to President Trump for quite a while if things continue to go the way they are.
[Featured Image by J. Scott Applewhite/AP Images]