House leaders opted not to hold a vote on the Republican health care
bill when it became clear it did not have enough support to pass.
Some opponents feared the measure would force too many people to lose
health coverage, while others said it did not go far enough in reforming
Obama's Affordable Care Act.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said Tuesday after a meeting with Republican
lawmakers that members are ready to "work together and listen together."
"It is just too important," he said. "Obamacare is doing too much damage
to families. And so we're going to get this right, and in the meantime,
we're going to do all of our other work that we came here to do."
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was also optimistic, saying
Republicans will follow through on their promise to repeal and replace
"Coming out of that conference I have more confidence that we will get
it done," McCarthy said.
Was ready to move on
President Donald Trump initially reacted to Friday's failure by saying
he was ready to move on to other priorities such as tax reform. But he
has continued to criticize the current system and on Tuesday said he was
sure there will be reforms.
"I know that we're all going to make a deal on health care. That's such
an easy one. So I have no doubt that that's going to happen very
quickly," he said at a White House reception with a group of both
Democratic and Republican senators.
Neither Trump nor the House leaders gave an indication about when a new
health care bill would be ready for action. And along with their
positive statements Tuesday there were still mixed signals about how
much of a priority health care is to Republicans right now.
Trump's legislative affairs director, Marc Short, said in an interview
with the Associated Press that the president would look to sign
legislation if it passed Congress and reached his desk, but that "at
this time today, there are other things that we have on our priority
list that we're moving on to."
Democrats hail the ACA for bringing health insurance to 20 million
people who previously lacked coverage. Republicans say the program is
too costly and unfairly forces Americans to purchase insurance or face a
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that Democrats
should be happy about the Republican failure because it leaves their
system in place.
"We believe it will not work out well, but we'll see," McConnell said.
His comments are similar in sentiment to a tweet Trump wrote Saturday
predicting "Obamacare will explode."
The independent Congressional Budget Office concluded that 24 million
Americans would lose their health care coverage over the next decade if
the Republican plan was approved.
and Republican leaders contended their plan, unlike Obamacare, will give
people access to buy the coverage that meets their needs and that they
Obama repeatedly said in defending his program that if anyone, including
Republicans, came up with a better plan, then he would support it.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to her colleagues
Tuesday thanking them for protecting the ACA from what she called the
"Republican's monstrosity of a bill," and said they must ensure the
Trump administration does not "sabotage" the program out of spite.
Pelosi further called on Democratic lawmakers to submit as soon as
possible any suggestions they have for improving the ACA.