Saturday, March 25, 2017

Epic 'Implosion' of GOP's American Health Care Act of 2017

Following-up from yesterday, "'Spectacular Defeat for Trump'."

Here's today's dramatic front-page story at the Los Angeles Times, "GOP dreams of repealing Obamacare collapse as Trump pulls vote on House bill":

President Trump, elected on a promise to use his deal-making prowess to get Washington working, blinked Friday in the face of defeat, agreeing to halt a House vote on a GOP healthcare overhaul amid crumbling Republican support.

The move came just hours after the White House insisted the vote would go forward regardless of the outcome, and followed Trump’s extraordinary ultimatum Thursday night, when he told rebellious lawmakers that if they didn’t vote for the bill, he would move on to other priorities.

To avoid an embarrassing vote, Trump asked House Speaker Paul D. Ryan to abandon the effort.

The collapse of the bill — legislation that managed to displease both Republican conservatives and centrists — dashed the party’s immediate hopes of fulfilling a longtime campaign promise to repeal and replace President Obama’s signature healthcare law, also called Obamacare.

Trump made a hard, last-minute push for the GOP bill. His spokesman said Friday that the president "left everything on the field."

In an Oval Office appearance after the vote was pulled, Trump described it as a “very interesting experience.” He praised his fellow Republicans and deflected blame on Democrats — who opposed the bill. He also said he’d learned something about “loyalty,” apparently referring to the GOP defections.

Trump predicted the country would eventually need to revisit the issue, saying, “We will end up with a truly great healthcare bill in the future after this mess that is Obamacare explodes.”

Both Trump and Ryan, however, said the Republican Party had no plan to revive the repeal-and-replace effort anytime soon, so the current healthcare law will remain in place.

The defeat exposed Trump’s limits as negotiator in chief and raised doubts about his administration’s ability to achieve the rest of its conservative agenda, including tax cuts, deregulation and trade reform.

The fallout was also a setback for Ryan. Critics say the legislation was crafted too quickly and without enough input from other lawmakers or consultation with industry and interest groups.

"Hopefully there will be a lesson learned that let’s work together to write the bill instead of writing it in private," said Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas).

The failure will only complicate the odd-couple partnership between Ryan and Trump. The president may think twice next time about relying on the speaker to lead legislative campaigns. Though Trump signaled his continued support Friday for Ryan to remain in his post, and many lawmakers were standing by his side, finger-pointing over what went wrong is bound to linger.

Ryan could have afforded to lose no more than about 21 Republican votes to reach the 216 needed for passage. Defections were estimated at one point to be 30 or more.

The conservative House Freedom Caucus wanted Trump and Ryan to go further and faster in unwinding Obamacare rules and taxes. Centrist Republicans were worried the GOP plan would leave too many Americans without health insurance.

“Moving from an opposition party to a governing party comes with growing pains and, well, we’re feeling those growing pains today," Ryan said. "We came up short.”

The GOP defeat marked a victory for a broad coalition of patient advocates, physician groups and hospitals, which had mounted an intense and sustained campaign to highlight the damage they said the bill would do to patients' medical care.

Congressional offices reported a huge influx of calls urging a "no" vote on the bill...