Psych! The Republican Healthcare Plan Isn't Dead After All

Paul Ryan claims that he's still working on repealing and replacing Obamacare, even after his embarrassing defeat.

by Harry Cheadle
Mar 27 2017, 10:12pm

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

On Friday, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) came to the end of its brief and unfortunate existence. The bill—put forth by House Speaker Paul Ryan and praised by President Donald Trump—was criticized by both Democrats and many Republicans, and despite efforts by House leadership to ram it through the legislative chamber as quickly as possible, it died a sputtering death when it was abruptly pulled before it could be voted down. 

"Obamacare is the law of the land," Ryan said at a press conference Friday. For his part, Trump seemed content to let the Affordable Care Act "explode," suggesting that the Republicans might move on to other legislative matters, like tax reform. 

But that turns out not to be the case entirely. In a call with GOP donors on Monday, Ryan reportedly said that he plans to continue working on healthcare and will unveil some new ideas at a retreat later this week. 

"When we're in Florida, I will lay out the path forward on healthcare and all the rest of the agenda," Ryan said, according to the Washington Post. "So please make sure that if you can come, you come—it will be good to look at what can feasibly get done and where things currently stand. But know this: We are not giving up."   

Ryan also took what seemed to be a barely veiled shot at the Freedom Caucus, a group of cantankerous far-right House Republicans who played a major role in taking down the AHCA. According to the House Speaker, "10 percent of our people" were responsible for the defeat.

What was left unsaid was how Ryan would get the Freedom Caucus onboard with any Obamacare replacement without losing votes from moderates who might balk at that group's demands to take away all of the law's benefits. And though Ryan said he had spoken with Trump multiple times over the weekend, and insisted his team and the White House were on the same page, it's far from clear that their combined influence will lead to a healthcare bill actually becoming law.

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