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GOP Fails to Get Votes for Health Care Plan

by Countable | 3.20.17

The House was expected to cast a vote on the American Health Care Act, which would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) today, but after four hours of debate it became clear that House Republicans lacked the votes to pass the bill and it was pulled from the floor. This is a developing story, and you can keep track of the major events of the day below.

4:45pm ET: President Donald Trump said that efforts to pass the AHCA were "very close" but that in part due to a lack of Democratic support, the bill wouldn't have passed and the vote needed to be postponed. He reiterated an oft-repeated point of his that "Obamacare will explode, it will have a very bad year" in terms of rising premiums and insurers withdrawing from exchanges, leaving consumers with fewer plans to choose from.

He reminded Democrats that Obamacare is their bill and they bear responsibility for its failings, and that unless there's enough support to pass a reform bill "there's not much you can do." But Trump sounded optimistic that despite the short-term pain the continued presence of Obamacare may cause, it will ultimately lead to enough support for "a better bill" to overhaul the nation's healthcare system that a bipartisan bill will be ideal.

Trump said that the focus will now turn to tax reform, and praised Speaker Ryan's efforts to manage the interests of the factions within the House GOP. He said that while he's disappointed, he refused to speak poorly of the Republican lawmakers who withheld their support of the AHCA.

4:10pm ET: Speaker Ryan said at his news conference today was evidence of the "growing pains" that Republicans have experienced since the party won control of the White House and retained majorities in Congress during the 2016 election. He said that the House GOP came "really close" but "didn't quite get consensus" and as a result that it would be wise to pull the bill.

He emphasized that Obamacare is still "fundamentally flawed" and that it will remain the law of the land for the forseeable future despite its unsustainability. Ryan suggested that passing the bill "was actually doing the Democrats a favor" by preventing its problems from becoming worse in the months and years to come.

Ryan added that while House Republicans are "let down" by today's events, there are other priorities that have broader consensus that will now get more attention, including tax reform and securing the border.

3:30pm ET: The House concluded its debate and recessed subject to the call of the chair (until House leadership calls for the chamber to reconvene). House Republicans are scheduled to hold a closed door meeting, with Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) scheduled to hold a press conference at 4pm ET.

Robert Costa, a reporter for the Washington Post, tweeted that he'd received a call from President Donald Trump who informed him that the White House had called upon House Republicans to postpone the vote once again.

11:20am ET: The House began its four hours of debate on the AHCA. The chair (Republicans) and ranking members (Democrats) from the committees that worked on the bill — Ways & Means, Energy & Commerce, and Budget — controlled the debate and took turns allowing their members to express their views on the AHCA on the floor in segments lasting less than two minutes.

A recurring theme emerged as the top Democrats from the committee would remind their GOP colleagues about how many of their constituents are expected to lose coverage under the bill as control of the floor was passed back and forth across the aisle. Republicans retorted by reminding Democrats about how many residents of their home state had sought exemptions from Obamacare's mandates because coverage became unaffordable.

11:05am ET: The House paused its work on the AHCA to vote on a bill requiring the Dept. of Homeland Security to take steps aimed at innovating its acquisition policies, which passed unanimously 424-0.

9:15am ET: The House began one hour of debate on the rule, with a final vote cast around 11:00am ET. On a largely party-line 230-194 vote, the rule was adopted so that debate on the AHCA could begin. Without the support of a majority of members the rule would've failed and the bill couldn't have been considered. Six Republican members opposed the rule, while five Democrats did not vote.

7:00am ET: The House Rules Committee met to approve a rule that structures the debate surrounding the AHCA. It formally added changes to the bill that had been announced last night, limited debate to four hours evenly divided between the majority and minority parties, waives points of order against the bill, and doesn't allow amendments to be proposed and debated on the House floor. The rule was approved on a partyline 9-3 vote with the committee's ranking member, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), not voting.

You can learn more about the American Health Care Act and tell your rep how to vote below:

— Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Lawrence Jackson / Public Domain)

Countable

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  • Cheryl
    03/25/2017
    ···

    Thanks for killing this bill. Republicans need to put their hatred for Obama behind them and begin working on bipartisan improvements to the ACA instead of trying to undermine it to try and make it fail.

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  • NancyJayne
    03/25/2017
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    Why don't you do the responsible thing and fix what's broken with Obamacare! Are you in office to help your constituents or yourself? Show up and show some leadership and do something good for people in this country. Otherwise we will replace you and get someone who is interested in the good of all people.Thank God this repeal never happened there would have been much suffering !

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  • Brian
    03/25/2017
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    Trumpcare did not pass not because of Democrats. It did not pass bc of it is a terrible bill. Many republicans did not endorse it. If it was a halfway decent bill Republicans would fall in order to vote for the bill and pass, even with full democrat opposition. I'm glad it did not pass. Keep up the fight!!!!

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  • Gabrielle
    03/25/2017
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    Thank you to those who opposed this bill, you truly are think of your constituents. Those of you where were on board you should be ashamed of yourself. Just think about this...put your self in the position of the portion of the middle class of your state when voting for something. If you were to be in their financial situation (not the lucky situation you are currently in) with the expenses and daily struggles would you be able to survive with the bill you are putting forward. Think about it hard before you decided to vote along party lines. That goes for any party.

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  • Frank
    03/24/2017
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    Pretty clear that democracy won this battle. What an ill conceived, cynical attempt at showboating a horrible piece of legislation in an attempt to pass it on the anniversary of Obamas historic health care bill. We must now tread carefully on any new legislation and court appointments and consider the legitimacy of this, so called, presidency.

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  • Edward
    03/25/2017
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    Our government should address the flaws in the current plan.Work together,put party's aside and continue to make it better for all Americans.

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  • K9queen28
    03/24/2017
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    No thanks to my Republican Senator who is a lemming and only votes on party line, but many thanks to everyone else who has a heart and the brains to work against this bill. We need to take of each other and this "Trumpcare" certainly would not do that. Even with its flaws, Obamacare wanted to cover and help as many people as possible. We should remember that.

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  • Hernan
    03/26/2017
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    Let's pleaae focus on making the ACA better with Bipartisan support.

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  • Cathy
    03/24/2017
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    I'm thrilled that the bill was pulled. Don't repeal Obamacare/ACA, improve it!

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  • Joanne
    03/25/2017
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    Please consider working together like real professional legislators to fix healthcare. Amend aca if you must to correct deficiencies. Better would be single payer universal healthcare like every other affluent country in world. Think of our founding fathers. They spent many hours under much worse conditions working to hammer out the framework of our wonderful country. Come up with ideas. Take them to Trump (or bypass him). Lets get something done.

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  • Bex8484
    03/24/2017
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    It's time for single payer. We are the only country in the western world that doesn't give its citizens a safety net if we get sick. Stop leaving the more vulnerable people lost in debt. Stop leaving the poor without hope. Stand up for the citizens of this country. This is not a partisan issue, it's an issue of basic human decency.

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  • educatedvote
    03/24/2017
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    As a person with a certification in the ACA, I know the law well and its many complex parts. It is NOT Obamacare and we need to stop calling it that. That is one of the main things that made people who know zero about healthcare, zero about law, zero about insurance and zero about the issues plaguing our system to not support much needed healthcare reform...all because, for reasons without any factual backing, they just didn't like Obama. There is not enough space in here or enough time to go through all of the important services that were added to healthcare insurance in this law that EVERY person needs, whether they are Republican or Democrat. Healthcare is NOT a partisan issue and never should be. It's about people. Aside from the additional services it added for coverage under insurance as well we consumer protections and greater financial regulation of insurance companies, its main purpose was to make sure that millions of people who 1) couldn't possibly afford insurance without working for a large employer, could receive a subsidy to reduce the cost so average Americans...those who are independent contractors, writers, are starting small businesses or work for small employers that don't offer medical insurance, could possibly afford to buy it and care for their families. In addition to that, many people who were working for companies just to keep their health insurance were able to finally afford insurance on their own and start innovative companies of their dreams and to change the world for everyone. Many people are not aware at all of the amount of innovation we are going to benefit from in the near future because many people were no longer 'medically handcuffed' to their employer. 2) As an insurance broker I am acutely aware that over 60% people who 'wanted' insurance and were willing to pay for it, were denied due to pre-existing conditions...some of those conditions being as small as a minor skin cancer that was taken care of 6 years ago. The pre-existing condition part of the law would not have been possible without the individual mandate because there would not have been enough premium money to cover the level of new 'risk/cost' coming into the insurance market. The law needs a lot of work. That will ALWAYS be the case! There is not a single healthcare system that is perfect, nor will there ever be. That is why we have to work on these things as non-partisan issues. We have to work one nation on this. As someone who also know social/single payer systems, don't be fooled that that is perfect either. Services are often heavily delayed, 1,000's of new and needed doctors do not appear over night, many doctors are retiring because they don't want to work for the government and they don't want to take reduced fees and treat even more patients, there will be rate caps on hospitals and those in many socialized systems still buy additional layers of insurance if they are willing to pay more to get access to better services, doctors, quicker response times and medications. As someone with a lot of cancer in my family, I can tell you that I am glad to live in the US where, when I had cancer at a young age, I got all imaging and treatment started in nearly the blink of an eye and almost all of it outside of my deductible was covered by insurance. A large portion of my family lives in a country I won't name right here, that has a socialized system that many who don't know healthcare well tout as being a world standard. However, I can tell you from personal experience, two of my family members with cancer tried to come to the US to get better treatment, faster imaging and quicker access to the chemos they needed. It also drives me crazy when I hear Republicans talk about what a disaster some parts of the law are when they fought it every step of the way and purposely defunded certain parts so it wouldn't function the way it should. Instead of working together at a critical time around people's health and lives, they purposefully did harmful things that have resulted in catastrophic problems for real, every-day Americans.

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  • Jsb16
    03/24/2017
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    The GOP had seven years to come up with a replacement for the ACA, ran on repealing and replacing it as soon as they got into power, and never bothered actually doing the hard work of coming up with something that would actually work. Welcome to the adult world, where not everything is soundbites and slogans.

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  • Mj
    03/24/2017
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    The American people have won one

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  • lucycbernard
    03/24/2017
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    it's a good day in America 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

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  • Don
    03/24/2017
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    I hope you are paying attention to the resistance. It is not going away and will still be active in 2018.

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  • Julie
    03/24/2017
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    Thank you all for helping to protect our heath care against this poorly thought out law. Fix the ACA to make it work better.

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  • Alan
    03/25/2017
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    The Republican Party should know better than to try to craft a health care bill, that they have not been able to do in 7 years, in less than 60 days. They are not sufficiently skilled in satisfying the needs of all American citizens. The wise thing would be to begin a bi-partisan effort to improve Obamacare. An even wiser alternative would be to develop Obamacare into a true single-payer health care system, models for which exist in virtually every democratic,civilized country in the world.

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  • Evelyn
    03/24/2017
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    Your not done yet. Please work together and make a bipartisan plan to fix and make sure ACA works for us all. Now is the time to make it work!!!

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  • Deb
    03/24/2017
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    Trump's blaming of Democrats is unacceptable and shows a complete lack of leadership! The election is over! He is supposed to be the leader of BOTH parties now! The buck stops at his desk! He needs to get both parties working on fixing the issues with the ACA so that it does not "explode" as he is saying it will. If he's not willing or able to lead this entire nation then he needs to step down and let someone do it!

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