US Republican leaders in the
House of Representatives have postponed a planned vote on legislation to
repeal Obamacare as President Donald Trump struggles to gather support
from members of his own Republican Party amid a wave of defections from
the proposed replacement bill.
The vote, which was
scheduled for Thursday, was delayed amid signs that the replacement
legislation to eliminate former President Barack Obama’s signature
domestic achievement – the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare – was in
Trump had agreed to many of the demands that the
most conservative House Republicans had made, including ending
requirements that health insurance plans provide benefits in 10 broad
categories, including maternity care, emergency services, mental health
and wellness visits.
On Thursday, Trump met at the White House
with some of the bill’s strongest opponents – the Freedom Caucus – a
congressional caucus consisting of conservative Republican lawmakers in
the House of Representatives.
Its members say the bill, known formally as the American Health Care Act, does not go far enough to repeal Obamacare.
certainly trying to get to ‘yes,’” said Representative Mark Meadows,
Republican of North Carolina and the chairman of the House Freedom
Caucus. “We’ve made very reasonable requests and we’re hopeful that
those reasonable requests will be listened to and ultimately agreed to.”
had agreed to many of the demands that the Freedom Caucus had made,
including ending requirements that health insurance plans provide a
basic set of benefits like emergency services, mental health, wellness
visits and maternity care.
march towards the Federal Building during a “Save the Affordable Care
Act” rally in Los Angeles, California on March 23, 2017. (AFP photo)But it was not enough to secure the group’s votes. Meanwhile, more moderate House Republicans were walking away from the bill.
all the negotiations, however, passage of the bill seemed more distant.
Some lawmakers hesitated at the removal of health insurance and
benefits their constituents depend on.
The changes that the Trump
administration has made to Obamacare have alienated some Republicans who
were already nervous about the bill.
Republican Party leaders
appeared to be short of a majority as the crucial vote approached on
Thursday, with moderate Republicans continuing to move away from the
Representative Charlie Dent, a Republican from Pennsylvania, announced Wednesday night that he would oppose the bill.
believe this bill, in its current form, will lead to the loss of
coverage and make insurance unaffordable for too many Americans,
particularly for low- to moderate-income and older individuals,” Dent
Health care experts from across the political spectrum say
that the House Republican health care bill was unworkable and suffered
from fatal flaws and could lead to Americans dropping out of the health
Experts agree that the bill fails to reach the
objectives laid forth by Trump, which includes affordable coverage for
everyone; lower deductibles and health care costs and better care.