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House Republicans Pull Health Care Reform Bill Moments Before Scheduled Vote

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On Friday, Republican lawmakers pulled the heath care reform bill proposed to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. The decision came just moments before the House was set to vote on the bill, after it appeared to not have enough support to pass.

At 3:34 p.m., Washington Post reporter Robert Costa tweeted, “President Trump just called me. Still on phone. ‘We just pulled it,’ he tells me.” Costa said Trump told him, “I don’t blame Paul (Ryan).”

The American Health Care Act had undergone a number of changes since it was first introduced to the public, including the addition of a provision that would require Medicaid recipients to show they are looking for employment, an option for States to take block grants for Medicaid and the removal of a federal requirement that mandated insurance plans cover essential benefits such as maternity care, mental health care, emergency services and preventative services like mammograms and colonoscopies.

The bill was fully opposed by every Democrat Representative and a number of Republicans, as well as the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), American Medical Association and the National Disability Rights Network, among others.

“Here we are with the choice act: The choice is get sick or go broke,” Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) said on the House floor before the vote. “That’s a bad joke, that’s a bad choice.”

The vote was supposed to be held on Thursday but was postponed after Republicans determined they had not secured enough support for the bill to be passed. Donald Trump met with Republican Representatives to try and bolster support for the vote, removing the essential benefits requirement in an attempt to appease conservative Republicans.

After Thursday’s meetings, Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said the Trump administration will leave Obamacare in place and move on from healthcare reform if the bill does not pass, The Hill reports.

Trump spoke about the bill’s withdrawal at a Medal of Honor event in the Oval Office on Friday afternoon, saying Republicans will probably shift focus to a tax reform bill, according to Reuters.

The Mighty will continue to update this post as information comes in. You can watch a live stream here.

Originally published: March 24, 2017
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