Republicans in South Carolina’s congressional delegation are hopeful after President Donald J. Trump and House leadership failed to garner enough support for their bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
On Friday, Republican House leaders canceled a scheduled vote and withdrew the American Health Care Act, which was proposed by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and supported by Trump, from further consideration. Multiple reports suggest that between 28 and 35 Republicans were opposed to the American Health Care Act. Some lawmakers were said to be unhappy that the bill cut health coverage too severely, while others felt the changes did not go far enough.
Now some South Carolina Republicans in Congress see an opportunity to craft a better solution.
“What the ACA [Affordable Care Act] has done to participants in the individual healthcare marketplace continues to be a great problem for many Americans, and therefore, I believe this bill will come back to the floor in a way that bridges philosophical gaps and stays true to the deliberative process so vital in producing good legislation,” said Rep. Mark Sanford.
Last month, Sanford, a member of the Freedom Caucus, introduced his own alternative to Obamacare that would lift restrictions on insurers and give Americans more tax breaks for buying and using health care.
Sanford voted against the Republican’s American Health Care Act during a House Budget Committee meeting on March 16. But his vote did not stop the piece of legislation from being adopted by the full committee, 19-17. On Friday morning, Sanford requested more time to review the bill. He argued that the process leading up to the vote was unusual, because the Trump administration continued to add more components to their bill as late as Friday morning.
Lawmakers usually have three full days to review a finalized bill before they vote on it.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, who held a town hall in Columbia on Saturday, is calling for bipartisan solutions to healthcare. “If you want to save this country from becoming Greece, you need Republicans and Democrats to work together to reform entitlement programs before it’s too late,” Graham told the crowd.
Sen. Tim Scott said Congress must find a solution.
“While the AHCA had its flaws, it was better than the current law, which is on the verge of collapsing,” Scott said. “We still must repeal Obamacare, because Americans deserve a better system that ensures every American family has access to quality care.”
Since Friday, President Trump has blamed House Democrats and the Republican Freedom Caucus for the bill’s failure. He also told The Washington Post that he wouldn’t ask Republican leaders to reintroduce the American Health Care Act.
Congressional leaders also said the bill was dead. “I will not sugarcoat this. This is a disappointing day for us,” Ryan said at the news conference on Friday. “Obamacare is the law of the land; it will remain the law of the land until it’s replaced. We are going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.”