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Trump, GOP Leaders Pull Health Bill    03/24 15:10

   In a humiliating setback, President Donald Trump and GOP leaders pulled 
their "Obamacare" repeal bill off the House floor Friday after it became clear 
the measure would fail badly.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- In a humiliating setback, President Donald Trump and GOP 
leaders pulled their "Obamacare" repeal bill off the House floor Friday after 
it became clear the measure would fail badly.

   It was a stunning defeat for the new president after he had demanded House 
Republicans vote on the legislation Friday, threatening to leave "Obamacare" in 
place and move on to other issues if the vote failed. The bill was withdrawn 
minutes before the vote was to occur.

   The president's gamble failed. Instead Trump, who campaigned as a master 
deal-maker and claimed that he alone could fix the nation's health care system, 
saw his ultimatum rejected by Republican lawmakers who made clear they answer 
to their own voters, not to the president.

   Republicans have spent seven years campaigning against former President 
Barack Obama's health care law, and cast dozens of votes to repeal it in full 
or in part. But when they finally got the chance to pass a repeal bill that 
actually had a chance to get signed, they couldn't pull it off.

   What happens next is unclear, but the path ahead on other priorities, such 
as overhauling the tax code, can only grow more daunting.

   And Trump is certain to be weakened politically, a big early congressional 
defeat adding to the continuing inquiries into his presidential campaign's 
Russia connections and his unfounded wiretapping allegations against Obama.

   The development came on the afternoon of a day when the bill, which had been 
delayed a day earlier, was supposed to come to a vote, come what may. But 
instead of picking up support as Friday wore on, the bill went the other 
direction, with some key lawmakers coming out in opposition.

   Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey, chairman of a major 
committee, Appropriations, said the bill would raise costs unacceptably on his 
constituents. Rep. Barbara Comstock of Virginia, a key moderate Republican, and 
GOP Rep. David Joyce of Ohio also announced "no" votes.

   The defections raised the possibility that the bill would not only lose on 
the floor, but lose big.

   In the face of that evidence, and despite insistences from White House 
officials and Ryan that Friday was the day to vote, leadership pulled back from 
the brink.

   The GOP bill would have eliminated the Obama statute's unpopular fines on 
people who do not obtain coverage and would also have removed the 
often-generous subsidies for those who purchase insurance.

   Republican tax credits would have been based on age, not income like 
Obama's, and the tax boosts Obama imposed on higher-earning people and health 
care companies would have been repealed. The bill would have ended Obama's 
Medicaid expansion and trimmed future federal financing for the federal-state 
program, letting states impose work requirements on some of the 70 million 
beneficiaries.

   The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the Republican bill would 
have resulted in 24 million additional uninsured people in a decade and lead to 
higher out-of-pocket medical costs for many lower-income and people just shy of 
age 65 when they would become eligible for Medicare. The bill would have 
blocked federal payments for a year to Planned Parenthood.

   Democrats were uniformly opposed. "This bill is pure greed, and real people 
will suffer and die from it," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington state.


(KA)

 
 
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