House Republicans Postpone Health-Care Vote

It’s Obamacare’s birthday and I’ll cry if I want to. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Thursday is the seven-year anniversary of Obamacare’s enactment — and Paul Ryan had hoped to celebrate by voting to throw 24 million people off their health insurance.

But he’s having some trouble convincing his fellow Republicans to sign onto that plan. And now, the House GOP’s health-care bill will not get a vote until Friday — or later.

“It didn’t look like today was going to be when we’re going to vote,” Tennessee congressman Phil Roe told reporters after leaving a meeting with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Hours later, Politico confirmed that Thursday’s scheduled vote had been canceled.

The postponement came following negotiations between the White House and the far-right House Freedom Caucus. The primary opposition to Trumpcare, thus far, has come from the GOP’s fiscal libertarians, who believe that the bill doesn’t cut aid to the sick and the indigent nearly enough. To win their favor, the president reportedly offered to nix Obamacare’s “essential health benefits” requirement — a move that would effectively nullify Trump’s promise to protect the coverage of people with preexisting conditions.

But this failed to satiate the caucus’s appetite for cruelty.

Ryan can lose only 21 votes from his own party (assuming Democrats hold the line against the GOP’s wildly unpopular bill). And as Trump has tried to appease the far right, his bill has lost the support of many (relatively) moderate Republicans.

On Thursday, some Republicans said that if the party failed to vote now (before the public has a chance to learn more about what’s in the bill) Trumpcare’s chances of ever passing would fall significantly.

“I think the chances for getting the bill done after this week get smaller. They don’t go to zero. No such thing as never or impossible,” Alabama congressman Bradley Byrne told reporters. “But the chances of passing this bill get a lot lower after this week.”

House Republicans Postpone Health-Care Vote