No repeal for 'Obamacare' _ a humiliating defeat for Trump

White House chief strategist Steve Bannon center departs after a Republican caucus meeting on Capitol Hill Thursday

The decision was ultimately Trump's.

"Let's vote", White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said as he walked out.

Repealing and replacing the ACA was a core campaign promise by many Republicans in Congress as well as President Donald Trump. When he said a few weeks ago that he never knew health care was so complicated, it had probably already dawned on him that the issue was all pain, no gain. Trump said the current law was imploding "and soon will explode". They'd hoped for a roll call Thursday, which marked the seventh anniversary of President Barack Obama's enactment of his landmark health care statute that Republicans have vowed ever since to annul.

It was a stunning defeat for the new president after he had demanded House Republicans delay no longer and vote on the legislation Friday, pass or fail.

Unlike Obama and Pelosi when they passed Obamacare, the Republicans had failed to build an outside constituency or coalition to support their bill.

What happens next is unclear, but the path ahead on other priorities, such as overhauling the tax code, can only grow more daunting.

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.

"We couldn't quite get there, we were a small number of votes short".

The Obama law was approved in 2010 with no Republican votes. Let House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) be held hostage by a handful of conservatives; they needn't be Trump's cross to bear. "I think Paul really worked hard".

We came really close today, but we came up short. "I've been saying for the past year and a half that the best thing we could do, politically speaking, is let Obamacare explode. When President Obama left, 2017 was going to be a very bad year for Obamacare", Trump said.

But when asked how Republicans could face voters after their failure to make good on years of promises, Ryan quietly said: "It's a really good question".

"I've been saying for the previous year and a half that the best thing we could do, politically speaking, is let Obamacare explode".

News that the bill had been pulled before a final vote was greeted initially with a small sigh of relief by USA equity investors, who earlier in the week had been fretful that an outright defeat would damage Trump's other priorities, such as tax cuts and infrastructure spending.

Democrats could hardly contain their satisfaction.

"I promised the people of North Carolina's 11th District that I would fight for a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act and a replacement with a market-driven approach ...", Meadows said.

"It's pretty exciting for us", the California Democrat said, beaming.

The failure of the GOP plan also puts Ryan in a much weakened political position, after being defied by his own conference, which seems just as unsuited to governing in the Trump era as it was when it was effectively a protest coalition under Obama. Defeat could weaken Trump's political potency by adding a legislative failure to a resume already saddled with inquiries into his campaign's Russian Federation connections and his unfounded wiretapping allegations against Obama.

According to reporting from The Hill, the bill came under fire from conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus, who demanded a number of changes that were meant to lower premium costs.

The inability of Republicans to reach consensus on a bill, given their control of the House, Senate and White House, badly hurts the GOP's image as a party that can govern, and Ryan admitted as much on Friday.

Instead of picking up support as Friday wore on, the bill went the other direction, with several key lawmakers coming out in opposition.

And House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., also broke ranks with GOP leadership on Friday, announcing that he was a no vote.

The defections raised the possibility that the bill would not only lose on the floor, but lose big.

The GOP bill would eliminate the Obama statute's unpopular fines on those who do not obtain coverage and the often generous subsidies for those who purchase insurance.

Republican tax credits would have been based on age, not income like Obama's, and the tax boosts Obama imposed on higher-earning people and health care companies would have been repealed.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the Republican bill would have resulted in 24 million additional uninsured people in a decade and lead to higher out-of-pocket medical costs for many lower-income people and people just shy of age 65, when they would become eligible for Medicare.

"Further, I believe it is especially disingenuous that if this bill passes today, this institution will have pushed the financial cuts to programs like the Healthy Indiana Plan conveniently until after the next congressional election". There was also opposition from doctors, hospitals, consumer groups and AARP. On the other side, conservative groups including the Koch outfit argued the legislation did not go far enough in uprooting Obamacare.

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