Republicans Pull Health Care Bill

March 29, 2017

On March 24, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) canceled a scheduled floor vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the replacement measure for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), because the bill did not garner enough advance Republican support to guarantee its passage.

The decision to cancel the vote – which had already been postponed from the previous day – followed a week of legislative negotiating and strong lobbying efforts by Speaker Ryan, others in leadership as well as Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump, to win over Republican skeptics and those still undecided.

Ultimately, members of the House Freedom Caucus—a group of 30+ conservative Republicans—contended that the AHCA left in place too many elements of the current ACA law that they wanted to dismantle. As a result, nearly 36 Republicans were prepared to vote ‘no’ and another 39 members were leaning no or still undecided. Republicans could only afford 22 defections and still pass it. Therefore, Speaker Ryan opted to pull the bill ahead of the vote rather than risk defeat on the floor—a recommendation that Trump accepted.

Ryan acknowledged the disappointment, which he initially chalked up to “growing pains” for a party that for the first time in more than a decade controls the executive and legislative branches. He went on to say that “we are going to be living with ObamaCare for the foreseeable future…”

The defeat has left the remainder of the Republican governing agenda in Congress in tatters. A proposed tax reform overhaul favored by Trump and Ryan depended, in part, on the health-care legislation proceeding forward, so at this point Republican leadership is working to figure out next steps heading into spring.

Click Here to read the technical amendments to AHCA.
Click Here to read the section-by-section of the technical amendments.
Click Here to read the policy amendments to AHCA.
Click Here to read more a section-by-section of the policy amendments.
Click Here to read more about AHCA.