Fact check: Trump overlooks his Obamacare promise

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

30 March, 2017

Earlier on Friday, Ryan traveled to the White House to brief Trump that he didn't think that there were enough Republican votes to pass the bill, even after making major concessions to conservative members, including eliminating a requirement to cover essential benefits.

When the gathering broke up, Rep. Greg Walden of OR, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee that helped write the bill, told reporters: "We gave it our best shot".

In Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, a week before the election, Trump vowed: "When we win on November 8th and elect a Republican Congress, we will be able to immediately repeal and replace Obamacare".

Trump thanked his party and Ryan and classified himself as a "team player".

"Although I'm disappointed we couldn't find consensus on how to repeal and replace Obamacare, I'm optimistic about the agenda House Republicans have proposed", she said in her statement.

The real estate mogul-turned-politician - who built his candidacy on his skills as a negotiator and deal closer - had very publicly twisted the arms of recalcitrant Republicans to rally votes, extending both carrots and sticks.

While Democratic leaders celebrated Friday afternoon, with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi saying it was "a great day for our country" and a "victory for the American people", and Republicans acknowledged a stinging defeat, with Ryan calling it a "disappointing day for us", Trump tried to frame the Democrats as the "losers" in the long-running health care debate.

Trump told the GOP on Thursday that the House had to vote on the new bill today or he would leave Obamacare in place.

Conservatives felt the bill did not go far enough in easing restrictions on insurance companies and patients while moderates anxious they would lose votes among constituents who could afford coverage for the first time under Obamacare.

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"We're going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future", he said.

Trump told reporters Friday that he would be "open to it" if Democrats wanted to work on a bipartisan measure.

The message came one day after the president suffered the biggest defeat yet in his short White House tenure, when his bill to repeal Obamacare died at the hands of rebel lawmakers of his own Republican party.

With Trump serving alongside a Congress controlled by the GOP, the bill was the party's first genuine opportunity to repeal Obama's statute. "So, they're going to reach out when they're ready, and whenever they're ready, we're ready".

Wall Street Journal reporter Siobhan Hughes detailed the reason the vote was canceled: "To pass the Republican health plan, which has no Democratic support, the GOP leadership could afford to lose only 22 Republicans. Eventually it's not sustainable", Trump said after the bill was withdrawn. While political analysts said the matter seemed dead for now, some conservatives urged Republicans not to throw in the towel.

"I share their disappointment that this effort came up short", McConnell added.

Members of the conservative Freedom Caucus appear to have withheld enough support to prevent passage of the American Health Care Act.

"It's a really good question", Ryan said, asked how Republicans could face constituents after failing to deliver on years of promises.


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