There was a spectacular failure in the House of Representatives today as the Republican party attempted to vote ‘yes’ for a long-anticipated law they called the American Health Care Act (AHCA) of 2017.
The AHCA was supposed to repeal and replace the landmark Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) of 2009. That law took 13 months of extensive deliberations by the Obama Administration, and spans some 20,000 pages. The health-care industry in the United States is a US$3 billion-a-year business, and touches 350 million people.
So in 2017, along comes the know-nothing Trump Administration, have policy wonk and Speaker Paul Ryan draft up the new AHCA proposal, and it is debated in the House for 20 days. But it was such a bad law that many moderate Republicans could not vote for it (not one of the 193 Democrats was in favor). There was also the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus (Republicans) that insisted on Thursday that the proposed AHCA law be made even ‘meaner’. They were given their demand. (Obamacare mandates that all policies include care such as emergency care, maternity care, prescription drugs and mental health care. So on Thursday night, this requirement was stripped out of the AHCA).
Unhappy with the dissent in the ranks of the House Republicans and impatient, President Trump issued an ultimatum last night to his party: pass the AHCA or we leave Obamacare in place and move on.
By mid-day Friday it was clear Speaker Ryan would not get the votes to pass it, and Pres.Trump instructed him to withdraw the AHCA law altogether.