As reported by CNN, the Trumpcare vote scheduled for today in the House of Representatives has been canceled. As Speaker of the House Paul Ryan apparently informed Donald Trump in an earlier meeting, the Republicans simply didn’t have the votes to pass their replacement of Obamacare. So what will the Republicans do now?
Donald Trump has in some of his recent tweets insisted that the Republicans should try to ram through a vote regardless of whether they would win. And comments by Trump’s budget director Mick Mulvaney suggested that Trump would attempt to blame Republicans – and particularly conservative Republicans – for the failure of the Trumpcare vote if one was actually held.
Furthermore, Trump indicated that should the Trumpcare vote not take place or the bill not pass, the Trump administration would simply move on to other things and would leave Obamacare in place as it is. In the past, Trump has also suggested leaving Obamacare in place and allowing it to completely fail so that Democrats could then take the blame.
But given that the exchanges are largely working as advertised in most states and that most people – if not entirely satisfied with Obamacare – at least want to keep it, it’s unclear that such a collapse of Obamacare would actually occur.
Recent polls have shown that only 17% of the American public support the American Health Care Act – better known as Trumpcare – now that they have seen the details of exactly what the new plan entails. Congressional representatives and senators across the country have faced angry crowds – and received even angrier emails and letters – regarding Republican plans to scrap Obamacare and replace it with something else.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan streamed a press conference this afternoon on Speaker.gov to discuss the Trumpcare vote cancellation. It was interesting to see what his take on the future of this legislation actually is. It seems clear from what he said that he doesn’t expect to bring the bill up again anytime soon.
As he put it, “Moving from an opposition party to a governing party comes with growing pains and well, we’re feeling those growing pains today. We came really close, but we came up short. I spoke to the president just a little while ago. I told him the best thing I think to do is to pull this bill and he agreed with that decision.”
Speaker Ryan went on to say, “Obamacare is the law of the land… We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.” This might reflect acceptance of Obamacare as a fixed part of the government, but only time will tell.
While it’s theoretically possible that Speaker Ryan and Donald Trump could try for another Trumpcare vote at some later date, it’s difficult to see how the different factions that oppose such an effort could be brought together in the future. Ultraconservatives refer to the proposed Trumpcare bill as “Obamacare Lite,” while moderate Republicans are afraid of what their constituents might say should they eliminate Obamacare. Certainly, Democrats aren’t going to support the bill.
There is also the possibility that Republicans will attempt to kill Obamacare indirectly by cutting all funding in future government spending bills. This would lead the law in place, but provide no resources to maintain the system. This is a technique that both Republicans and Democrats have used in the past on other issues.
Despite his concession that his Trumpcare vote had failed, Ryan did suggest that he was expecting Obamacare itself to fail because of future increase in costs and premiums. Whether this is his attempt to tie himself to Donald Trump’s aforementioned suggestion that Obamacare should be allowed to fail so that the Republicans could blame the Democrats is unclear.
[Featured Image by Win McNamee/Getty Images]