The House Freedom Caucus scored a big political victory yesterday, as their fierce opposition to the American Health Care Act (AHCA) prevented the controversial legislation from even bring brought up for a vote on the floor.
“I applaud House conservatives for keeping their word to the American people,” Senator Rand Paul said in a statement. In spite of legislating from a different chamber, Paul was in the corner of the House Freedom Caucus from the start urging members to stand strong and even giving them pointers from President Trump’s signature book The Art of the Deal in a well-received publicity stunt.
House Majority Leader Rep. Paul Ryan was the primary sponsor of the legislation and suffered perhaps the biggest political defeat of his career with the demise of AHCA. “Moving from an opposition party to a governing party comes with growing pains,” Ryan said after the bill died. “And well, we’re feeling those growing pains today.”
“I don’t know what else to say other than Obamacare is the law of the land. It’ll remain law of the land until it’s replaced,” Rep. Ryan said. “We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.”
Rep. Ryan’s words are perhaps more of a threat than an admission of the political reality, as other healthcare solutions could be promptly considered. President Trump has made similar overtures, indicating that the ACHA would be the GOP’s last chance to repeal Obamacare.
Meanwhile, Sen. Paul introduced the ObamaCare Repeal Act (S.106) as well as the Obamacare Replacement Act (S.222). The first bill would be a clean repeal of Obamacare, and the second bill would eliminate the individual mandate, put tax credits toward health savings accounts, allow the purchase of health care plans across state lines, and other market-centered reforms. With these bills alive, the GOP-dominated legislature has no excuse to hamper substantiative reform.