Despite President Donald Trump’s effort to force GOP lawmakers into passing their proposed repeal and replace healthcare bill by the end of the day, House Speaker Paul Ryan has officially conceded defeat, reports Reuters. If Trump is to be believed, this means that he will no longer be focusing on any repeal and replace efforts, which would effectively leave the ACA, also known as Obamacare, in place for the foreseeable future.
What Happens Next?
When Ryan made the call to pull the bill, he squashed the GOP’s seven years worth of plans to eliminate the ACA. It’s unknown at this time exactly what steps will be taken next, but Trump has reportedly indicated that he is now open to working with Democrats to improve or replace existing healthcare legislation.
Media reports had been predicting for several days that the GOP and Trump didn’t have enough votes to push their healthcare bill through the first wave of the voting process. A detailed analysis of the proposed healthcare bill stated that 24 million Americans would lose coverage, according to the New York Daily News.
Despite this, the more conservative members of the GOP kept pushing to amend the bill in ways that would have made those numbers increase. For example, they were demanding that the provision that allows students to stay on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26 be eliminated.
Because various members of the GOP wanted drastically different things and there was absolutely no Democrat support, there was no way to come to a general consensus and secure a positive vote. A revised healthcare bill will almost certainly be unveiled later on, but for now, Trump and the GOP have begrudgingly accepted defeat and Obamacare will remain unchanged.
The Will of the American People
One thing that was often lost in the fight to change the nation’s healthcare law was what voters actually wanted. Although Trump and members of the GOP actively campaigned with promises to dump the ACA, voters became increasingly nervous about them actually following through on these plans. NPR reports that surveys show that only 20 percent of Americans actually want Obamacare to be completely eliminated. An additional 75 percent indicated that the existing healthcare plan should either be left alone or only repealed after a better bill is passed. In other words, the vast majority of the country didn’t support the bill that Ryan recently pulled.
The Final Nail in the GOP Healthcare Plan’s Coffin?
The defeat of the bill is stunning enough, but even more shocking, according to the Huffington Post, was the statement earlier today from top house GOP Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen. The New Jersey congressman and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee refused to support the bill and stated he would have to vote no. It’s unclear if this was what prompted Ryan’s decision to pull the vote, but it certainly didn’t help advance the GOP healthcare bill’s chances of moving forward.
Trump Administration to Put a Positive Spin on Healthcare Defeat
The Huffington Post also reported that before the bill was even pulled, Trump and his team had made it clear that a victory or a loss would both be seen as a victory. Although this might not make much sense, it’s par for the course for an administration that is trying extremely hard to always position Trump in a positive light. It remains to be seen how his supporters will respond, but Trump and the GOP’s failure to even vote on the healthcare bill is virtually certain to be upsetting for the 20 percent of Americans who wanted this campaign promise to be kept.
Is Paul Ryan’s Future in Doubt?
Ryan stated in a press conference that “doing big things is hard,” and he also indicated that the GOP had gotten “really close” to passing a new healthcare law. So far, Trump has stated he is still committed to keeping Ryan as the GOP speaker of the house, but this healthcare debacle may put Ryan on a short leash.