The Republican health care plan vote is dead – so what happens next?

Republican support for the new health care overhaul wasn't strong enough to get it passed.
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The much ballyhooed U.S. House vote on a new health care law to replace the Affordable Care Act appears to be dead.

President Donald Trump met with Republican lawmakers Thursday night, imploring them to vote on an Obamacare replacement plan Friday – even though the vote, which was supposed to be Thursday, got delayed over concerns there wasn't enough support from GOP lawmakers to pass it.

But despite attempts to court undecided Republicans to get behind the new health care bill, supporters couldn't get the votes needed to pass it. So Friday afternoon, House Speaker Paul Ryan canceled the vote, The Hill reports. Said Trump – who repeatedly made a repeal and replacement of Obamacare a rallying cry during his campaign – to the Washington Post: "We just pulled it."

What this means

The health care overhaul passed in 2010 under the Barack Obama administration remains untouched and unchanged. At least for now.

Although it's been divisive, the Affordable Care Act – also referred to derisively as Obamacare – has seen relatively strong support recently, Pew Research found, with a high of 54 percent of respondents surveyed saying they approve of the law. (Though it also depends on which name you use to refer to it.)

The decision from Ryan Friday to pull the vote was met with celebration from Affordable Care Act supporters (which is generally, though not exclusively, Democrats). That includes Reps. like Betty McCollum, from Minnesota's 4th Congressional District, who tweeted: ".@realDonaldTrump & @HouseGOP's chaotic retreat from #TrumpCare is a lesson: when Americans speak out, we can stop GOP's backwards agenda."

Or Rep. Tim Walz of Minnesota's 1st Congressional District, who tweeted: ".@SpeakerRyan & @HouseGOP – I want to help you improve our health care system, not tear it down. Please welcome @HouseDemocrats to the table."

How Republican support fell apart

Despite years of repeated attempts by Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and promises from Trump that his administration would repeal and replace the health care law, the proposal offered up by GOP representatives failed to gain traction.

That includes from fellow Republicans.

The GOP has a majority in the U.S. House, with 237 members to Democrats' 193.

But as the New York Times notes, a conservative faction thinks the bill is too expensive and leaves too many mandates in place, while moderate Republicans are concerned about the number of people who would go uninsured under the new plan. (The Congressional Budget Office estimates the number of uninsured Americans would rise by 24 million over the next decade.)

This Twitter user, @Taniel, kept a spreadsheet of House Republicans who said they would not support the new health care bill. That figure was up to 32 on Friday. Add those votes to Democrats' 193 "No" votes, and the bill would have failed by a 225-205 margin.

The public also appeared to not support the new bill. A poll released by Quinnipiac University Thursday found 56 percent of respondents disapprove of the Republican health care plan, 17 percent approve of it, and 26 percent are undecided.

It's also worth reading Washington Post reporter Robert Costa's account of when the president called his cellphone out of the blue Friday afternoon to discuss what happened.

What next?

Lawmakers could write and introduce a new health care overhaul plan they think would get enough support to pass a House vote. But that doesn't appear to be in the immediate plans right now, with the party also hoping to spend political energy on things like tax code reform and an infrastructure spending plan, the Washington Post says.

"We're going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future," said Ryan at a news conference Friday.

The House speaker also called it a "disappointing day," and ascribed blame in part to "growing pains" that come with moving from being an opposition party, to being a governing party.

"Doing big things is hard," he said, before adding they'll continue to work to improve people's lives.

Rep. Jason Lewis, a Republican for Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District that supported the new health care law, said Friday that although he's "disappointed," he understands the choice and will still be trying to "enact real health care reform."

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