President Donald Trump issued House Republicans a high-stakes ultimatum late Thursday night: Pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA) in a vote on Friday, or I’ll leave Obamacare in place and move on to other issues. And to that end, the president is already employing his infamous Twitter pulpit.
House GOP leadership was forced to delay a hotly anticipated vote on the Affordable Care Act repeal legislation, aka Trumpcare, on Thursday in a major blow to President Trump. The chamber was hoping to pass the bill on Obamacare’s seven-year anniversary.
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But continued resistance from conservative lawmakers, especially the 29-member House Freedom Caucus, helped derail the effort—as did a growing chorus of opposition from GOP moderates as the White House continued to push the bill rightward in an effort to pick up right-wing support.
Trump called out the detractors in a pair of Friday morning tweets and warned that they were setting the stage for a continuation of Obamacare:
The latest round of horse-trading over the bill saw Trump give a major concession to the Freedom Caucus by agreeing to nix Obamacare’s “essential health benefits” standards, which are currently preserved under the AHCA. Obamacare requires individual and small group health plans to provide coverage under 10 wide-ranging benefits categories, including prescription drugs, maternal care, and mental health services.
Evidently, that wasn’t enough to sway enough of the caucus (and caused heartburn among some moderates). The GOP can only lose 22 votes among their membership if the AHCA is to pass, assuming unified Democratic opposition to the bill.
A new Quinnipiac poll released Thursday finds that Trumpcare is extremely unpopular, with 56% opposition versus 17% support. Even surveyed Republicans don’t give the legislation majority support.