President Donald Trump with Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, at a session on healthcare, at the White House in Washington, D.C., March 22. (Press Trust of India)

In a major setback for President Donald Trump, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, March 24, withdrew a healthcare bill aimed at repealing and replacing Obamacare from vote as the Republican party failed to muster the votes needed to get the legislation passed. President Trump expressed his disappointment and surprise, writes Lalit K. Jha. – @Siliconeer #Siliconeer #IndianAmerican #Healthcare #SeemaVerma #DonaldTrump #Obamacare #AffordableCareAct

Trump’s disappointment came after a vote on the Republican healthcare bill was scrapped due to lack of support. The Republicans only lack little votes, and the Democrats would not contribute a vote, Trump said in a brief interaction with reporters on the sidelines of a White House event.

The President said he is disappointed and surprised over the developments and from now on, he will move on to the next agenda, tax reform, which he said he should’ve done earlier.

However, he did not talk much on the fate of healthcare.

The U.S. House of Representatives has 435 members. The Republican party enjoys a simple majority in the House with 235 members. However, due to opposition from some of its own party lawmakers, in particular the one that have grouped themselves under the banner of Freedom Caucus, Paul Ryan, who had been leading the effort on behalf of Trump, could not muster the majority 215 votes.

As a result, in an effort to avoid the humiliation of a defeat, Ryan announced that he was withdrawing the move to have a vote on Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

The White House and Trump had put up a brave face even till the last minute when they tried their best to muster support for their effort to repeal and replace Obamacare.

With the writing on the wall, Ryan drove to the White House to inform Trump that he does not have enough votes to see the important legislation pass through the Congress.

The White House said Trump did everything he could for the passage of the bill. “There’s no question in my mind at least that the President and the team here have left everything on the field… It is now going to be up to the members of the House to decide whether or not they want to follow through on the promise to that,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters.

Similarly, Spicer said, Ryan has done everything he could.

“He’s worked really closely with the President. I think at the end of the day you can’t force people to vote,” Spicer said.

Senator Mark Warner said it has now become clear that “Trumpcare” has been rejected.

Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty said the Affordable Care Act has problems that they need to work together to fix. “The American Health Care Act would solve none of these problems, and the American people know it. Instead of lowering costs or improving the quality of care, this bill would force millions of Americans to pay more money for worse coverage,” she said.

“Americans throughout the country, including the thousands of folks in my district who called and emailed me, have sent a loud and clear message to Congress that they oppose this cruel and destructive proposal. Today, their voices were heard,” Esty said.

“We won’t fix the problems in our healthcare system with just one party negotiating against itself,” she added.

Indian American Congressman Ami Bera said the proposed bill would have kicked millions of hardworking Americans off their health care, raised the cost of coverage for families, and imposed an age tax on our parents and grandparents.

One of just two Democratic doctors in the Congress, and practiced internal medicine, Bera hoped that after canceling this vote, the Speaker and the majority will hear loud and clear that playing politics with peoples’ health care is not going to work.

“Now is the time for Democrats and Republicans to come together, because the job isn’t over until every American has affordable and accessible healthcare. Real lives are at stake here and I’m ready to get to work,” Bera said.

Rejoicing the development, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said ultimately the Trumpcare bill failed because of two traits that have plagued the Trump presidency since he took office: incompetence and broken promises.

“In my life, I have never seen an administration as incompetent as the one occupying the White House today,” Schumer said.

Siliconeer does not support repealing or replacing Obamacare.