The “nightmare” known as Obamacare will remain the law of the land as House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the America Health Care Act bill before its scheduled 3:30 pm vote on the House floor on Friday.
The House bill needed 216 votes to pass the Obamacare replacement plan, but the House Freedom Caucus along with several moderate Republicans and Democrats made that task too difficult.
For Speaker Ryan and President Trump, it’s a disappointing day. Ramming an imperfect and emotionally charged bill in the AHCA through Congress to fix a broken law in Obamacare ended up being their folly.
“We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future,” Ryan said to reporters during a Friday press conference. “Now, we’re going to move on with the rest of our agenda because we have big, ambitious plans to improve people’s lives.”
Speaking to reporters from the Oval Office, President Trump called Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi the “real losers” of today’s no vote.
“Obamacare’s going to explode in the next year. It’s getting much worse,” President Trump told reporters on Friday. “2017 is going to be a very, very bad year for Obamacare. You’re going to have explosive premium increases and deductibles so high people don’t even get to use it.”
When asked what’s next on his agenda, the President said, “We’re going to go with tax reform, which I’ve always liked.”
Going along with President Trump’s agenda, rather than focusing on their health care replacement, is what Congressional Republicans should have paid attention to.
While many millennials voted for the GOP in the 2016 election to repeal and replace Obamacare, what drew them to vote for Donald Trump were his campaign promises to fix trade and immigration.
In addition to tax reform, Congress can now focus on appropriations and planning for building the wall. They can also look to move forward on Sens. Cotton (R-AR) and Perdue’s (R-GA) RAISE Act, which will reform our immigration system. Additionally, Congress can actually deal with the budget and auditing the Federal Reserve.
And, of course, President Trump can focus on renegotiating trade deals like NAFTA and TPP, which he believes are disastrous for blue collar workers and manufacturing.
So, while Republicans will take a loss on healthcare, they can use this experience as a lesson and still win on everything else.