On Friday afternoon, a major loss for the legislative agenda of US President Donald Trump and the Republican Party in the House of Representatives occurred, as the proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA) has been pulled and the House called into recess. Intended as the replacement of the controversial Affordable Care Act passed under former President Barack Obama, the AHCA was very unpopular with both the Democratic Party and various Republican officials in Congress.

AHCA fails as intended replacement for Obamacare

In the latest counts for the potential vote on the AHCA in Congress, it became apparent that the bill was very unpopular within multiple segments of the Republican Party.

The AHCA was intended as a replacement for the affordable care act, commonly known as Obamacare, which passed through the Democratic legislature in 2010. The Affordable Care Act instituted major changes to American health care: primarily, an individual mandate where all citizens must acquire an insurance plan or pay a penalty, regulations denying insurance companies the right to deny service to patients with existing medical conditions, and increasing Medicaid spending.

The Affordable Care Act has been vociferously opposed by Republicans since it was enacted into law, and President Donald Trump was elected in part on a campaign to repeal and replace Obamacare with a law Trump promised would cover all Americans while reducing costs.

Trump differs from typical Republican orthodoxy in that he has pledged to protect the Medicare program, and in the past has praised single-payer health care programs in other countries.

Many Republicans in Congress did not support AHCA

Speaker Ryan introduced the AHCA as the first step in the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, with the bill set to eliminate the individual insurance mandate and the Medicaid expansions, while keeping more popular provisions within the Affordable Care Act in place.

However, the bill divided the Republican party; members of the House Freedom Party believed it kept too much of Obamacare in place, whereas other Republican Senators believed the bill would lead to their constituents losing health coverage. A recent Congressional Budget Office report showed that the AHCA could lead to 24 million Americans losing health insurance by 2026.