Paul Ryan frowns
Paul Ryan frowns

We’re going to win at every sin­gle lev­el. We’re going to get rid of Oba­macare, we’re going to win on health care, we’re going to start win­ning on every lev­el. I say it kid­ding­ly, but I mean it 100 per­cent: We’re going to win, win, win! We’re going to win so much, you’re going to get sick and tired of it. You’re going to say “Mr. Pres­i­dent, we can’t take it any­more, we’re win­ning too much! Please, we don’t want to win that much any­more, we can’t take it, Mr. Pres­i­dent!” And I’m not going to care — we’re going to keep winning!

– Don­ald Trump on the cam­paign trail last year (March 16th, 2016)

Con­ced­ing that they sim­ply don’t have the votes to pass the mas­sive wealth trans­fer that they false­ly call a replace­ment for the Patient Pro­tec­tion Act, Paul Ryan and top House Repub­li­cans today threw in the tow­el on H.R. 1628, can­cel­ing a planned vote that Don­ald Trump had insist­ed be held only hours earlier.

Despite hav­ing a large major­i­ty in the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and despite hav­ing con­trol of the rest of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, feud­ing Repub­li­cans were unable to mar­shal the req­ui­site num­ber of votes need­ed to pass the wealth trans­fer scheme dis­guised as a health bill that the Trump regime wanted.

“We’re going to be liv­ing with [the Patient Pro­tec­tion Act] for the fore­see­able future,” Paul Ryan con­ced­ed in a news con­fer­ence fol­low­ing the decision.

Aban­don­ing the swag­ger he had pre­vi­ous­ly showed, he acknowl­edged it was a defeat for the Repub­li­can Par­ty. “I will not sug­ar­coat this, this is a dis­ap­point­ing day for us… This is a set­back, no two ways about it.”

A furi­ous Trump says he blames Democ­rats for the col­lapse of the legislation.

“We couldn’t get one Demo­c­ra­t­ic vote and we were a lit­tle bit shy, very lit­tle, but it was still a lit­tle bit shy so we pulled it,” he told The Wash­ing­ton Post.

Of course Trump blames Democ­rats; as far as he is con­cerned, Democ­rats are to blame for every­thing that does­n’t go his way. All Democ­rats did here was say no — and they don’t even con­trol any branch of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment anymore.

Nei­ther Trump nor Ryan ever made any attempt to work with Democ­rats to devel­op leg­is­la­tion on health­care. And that is because they did­n’t want to. They are not inter­est­ed in expand­ing access to health­care for the Amer­i­can people.

What they are inter­est­ed in is gut­ting our coun­try’s social con­tract and enrich the already wealthy with a $1 tril­lion tax cut. And they want­ed Demo­c­ra­t­ic par­tic­i­pa­tion (more like capit­u­la­tion) so they could claim lat­er that the destruc­tion of the Patient Pro­tec­tion Act was bipar­ti­san. They want­ed Democ­rats to sim­ply lay down, betray their prin­ci­ples, and cough up some votes in sup­port of one of the most mon­strous, atro­cious bills ever seen in the U.S. House of Representatives.

But Democ­rats — remem­ber­ing the enor­mous polit­i­cal cap­i­tal that was expend­ed to pass the Patient Pro­tec­tion Act in the first place — wise­ly refused to have any­thing to do with Trump­cuts. They stood unit­ed in their oppo­si­tion. And they have been reward­ed. They and the mil­lions of Amer­i­cans who spoke out against this bill have won the day. Repub­li­cans, despite being in pow­er, have lost.

Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee led the way in laud­ing the implo­sion of H.R. 1658.

“Today 600,000 Wash­ing­to­ni­ans beat Con­gress, and can rest easy know­ing that Speak­er Ryan and Pres­i­dent Trump have failed in their mis­guid­ed attempt to destroy health care in Amer­i­ca,” said Inslee. “Today’s deci­sion to can­cel the vote on [Trump­cuts] — leg­is­la­tion that would have tak­en cov­er­age away from twen­ty-four mil­lion Amer­i­cans — is an enor­mous vic­to­ry for Washington.”

“This vic­to­ry didn’t hap­pen by chance. Thou­sands of Wash­ing­to­ni­ans made their voic­es heard at town halls and in phone calls and emails to Con­gress. The Repub­li­can plan to take away health from mil­lions of Amer­i­cans and give tax breaks to mil­lion­aires was unacceptable.”

“I’m pleased that Pres­i­dent Trump and Speak­er Ryan have indi­cat­ed that they will move on, and give up their effort to repeal this land­mark law that has done so much good in Wash­ing­ton, and across the Unit­ed States.”

“Today is a vic­to­ry for 24 mil­lion Amer­i­cans who will con­tin­ue to have health care,” agreed U.S Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Prami­la Jaya­pal of Seattle.

“It’s a vic­to­ry for old­er Amer­i­cans who won’t have to pay thou­sands more in pre­mi­ums. It’s a vic­to­ry for women who can con­tin­ue to access crit­i­cal birth con­trol and life­sav­ing care. It’s a vic­to­ry for peo­ple with pre-exist­ing con­di­tions who won’t be penal­ized for things beyond their con­trol. It is a vic­to­ry for all of us.”

“If this bill comes to the House floor again, we will orga­nize and defeat it. We know when we orga­nize, we win. We can­not be com­pla­cent. This is just anoth­er fight in a series of bat­tles. But today, we can say that we pro­tect­ed care for tens of mil­lions of Amer­i­cans across the country.”

“Repub­li­cans spent sev­en years vow­ing to turn back the clock on health care for women, seniors and families—but it took just a few weeks of them try­ing to jam [Trump­cuts] through Con­gress to real­ize that peo­ple across the coun­try absolute­ly reject their plans to increase pre­mi­ums, cut mil­lions of peo­ple off of their insur­ance cov­er­age, elim­i­nate women’s health care options, and put the insur­ance com­pa­nies back in charge of health care deci­sions,” said U.S. Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Murray.

“This vic­to­ry will make all the dif­fer­ence in the lives of patients, fam­i­lies, and seniors nation­wide. I am so grate­ful to the mil­lions of peo­ple who spoke up, not just for them­selves but for friends and neighbors—for access to Med­ic­aid and Planned Par­ent­hood, and for a coun­try that works to make sure all fam­i­lies have afford­able, qual­i­ty health care. Today shows just how pow­er­ful your voic­es are.”

“We will be vig­i­lant in defend­ing against con­tin­u­ing efforts to put the inter­ests of insur­ance com­pa­nies and the wealthy ahead of patients’ health and wel­fare. I fear that while [Trump­cuts] was dealt a sig­nif­i­cant blow today, the ter­ri­ble ideas that under­pin it will live on with Repub­li­cans in Con­gress and the White House. I hope that Repub­li­cans will learn from this, and instead, put peo­ple over par­ti­san pol­i­tics and work with us to build on the Afford­able Care Act and make health care even more afford­able, more acces­si­ble, and high­er quality.”

“We’ve been prepar­ing for the worst at the state lev­el, draft­ing leg­is­la­tion to help back­fill loss­es in cov­er­age if the ACA is repealed, and urg­ing our state’s con­gres­sion­al del­e­ga­tion to do what­ev­er they can to pre­serve cov­er­age for Wash­ing­to­ni­ans,” said Demo­c­ra­t­ic State Sen­a­tor Annette Cleve­land of Clark Coun­ty, the rank­ing mem­ber on the Sen­ate Health Care Committee.

“If Con­gress is unable to repeal and replace the ACA, a lot of very vul­ner­a­ble Wash­ing­to­ni­ans will be able to breathe a huge sigh of relief.”

“The health care of more than 600,000 Wash­ing­to­ni­ans is at stake,” point­ed out Eileen Cody, Chair of the House Health Care & Well­ness Com­mit­tee. “Hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple across our state have bet­ter care and have more secure futures thanks to the ACA. Under the Trump­Care­Less Plan, all of those peo­ple could lose their access to care and that can­not be allowed.”

“If Repub­li­cans craft­ed leg­is­la­tion that lived up to the promise of ‘insur­ance for every­body’ at low­er cost, they would have broad sup­port for their efforts,” said U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Suzan Del­Bene (WA-01), who deliv­ered a blis­ter­ing floor speech lam­bast­ing the bill ear­li­er in the day.

“But it’s clear this bill left mid­dle-class fam­i­lies, seniors, women and peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties far worse off. Allow­ing 24 mil­lion Amer­i­cans to go uncov­ered is just wrong,” Del­Bene added. “Since com­ing to Con­gress, I have worked tire­less­ly to find com­mon­sense fix­es to our nation’s health­care laws.”

“We should build upon the reforms we’ve already made to expand cov­er­age and reduce costs — this bill did none of that. Instead, most Amer­i­cans would have end­ed up pay­ing more for less, while mil­lions more would find cov­er­age com­plete­ly out of reach. I’m relieved we were able to stop this dan­ger­ous leg­is­la­tion before it com­plete­ly desta­bi­lized our nation’s health­care system.”

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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