In a major setback to US President Donald Trump, his bid to repeal and replace the signature health care policy of his predecessor Barack Obama – Obamacare – collapsed after his regime failed to gather numbers to go ahead with the move.
House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan withdrew the healthcare bill from vote as the ruling Republican Party failed to muster the votes, 216 in 435-member house, needed to get the legislation passed.
The Republican Party enjoys a simple majority in the House with 235 members.
Reacting to the huge setback, which is tipped to have ramifications on Trump government’s future moves vis-a-vis legislative business in the Congress, the President acknowledged they were “not quit there”.
“We couldn’t quite get there, we were a small number of votes short. There are many people who don’t realise how good our bill was,” US President Donald Trump said.
Significantly, the opposition came from within. Some of its own party lawmakers, in particular the one that have grouped themselves under the banner of Freedom Caucus, opposed the legislation. Even a more moderate faction of Republican Party were opposed to the bill.
Congresswoman and Democrat member Elizabeth Esty said the Affordable Care Act has problems that they need to work together to fix.
“The American Health Care Act would solve none of these problems, and the American people know it. Instead of lowering costs or improving the quality of care, this bill would force millions of Americans to pay more money for worse coverage,” she said.
“Americans throughout the country – including the thousands of folks in my district who called and emailed me – have sent a loud and clear message to Congress that they oppose this cruel and destructive proposal. Today, their voices were heard,” she added confirming the “rejection” of bill.
Earlier, House Speaker Ryan, who had been leading the effort on behalf of Trump, could not muster the majority 215 votes. And as a result, in an effort to avoid the humiliation of a defeat, Ryan announced the withdrawal of the move to have a vote on Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
The White House and Trump had put up a brave face even till the last minute when they tried their best to muster support for their effort to repeal and replace Obamacare.
With the writing on the wall, Ryan drove to the White House to inform Trump to inform him he does not have enough votes to see the important legislation pass through the Congress.
“There’s no question in my mind at least that the President and the team here have left everything on the field… It is now going to be up to the members of the House to decide whether or not they want to follow through on the promise to that,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told the press.
Senator Mark Warner said it has now become clear that “Trumpcare” has been rejected.
Meanwhile, blaming the opposition Democrats for the failure, Trump warned that now Obamacare is going to stay, people would see a sudden rise in their insurance premium.
“There’s not much you can do about it. Bad things are going to happen. There’s not much you can do to help it. I’ve been saying that for a year and a half. It’s not sustainable. There’s no way out,” Trump told reporters at the White House after the bill was withdrawn.
Repealing Obamacare was Trump’s one of the biggest talking point of his presidential poll campaign.