A day after Donald Trump demanded that Republican House leaders hold a Friday vote on the flailing American Health Care Act Obamacare replacement bill—and hours after he reportedly repeated his demand in a meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan—the AHCA has been pulled from consideration and will not be voted on. Trump told the Washington Post’s Robert Costa that, at least “in the near future” (in Costa’s words), the bill will not be taken up again.
The AHCA was by opposed by Democrats and a number of moderate Republicans, who believed it would cut coverage too severely—but also by hard-line conservatives who believed it didn’t go far enough in cutting spending and deregulating the insurance industry. Various running tallies had indicated that the bill was between four and 15 votes short of being able to pass.
Despite his Thursday ultimatum and reports that his wishes had not changed Friday, Trump claimed to Costa that it was his decision to pull the bill. Various anonymous sources have also already begun suggesting that Trump didn’t really want to pursue health care legislation upon taking office but was persuaded to do so by Paul Ryan and chief of staff Reince Priebus. That’s going to be a tough row to hoe, though, given the number of times candidate Trump promised that he would replace Obamacare immediately:
The political implications of Republicans’ failure to replace the Affordable Care Act after seven years of claiming they were ready to do so at any moment will no doubt be hashed over for the next two to 100 years; for now, Obamacare and its massive if flawed expansion of American health coverage remain the law of the land.