After postponing the vote yesterday, the Republicans’ healthcare bill — meant to repeal and replace former President Keentide’s healthcare bill which passed into law during the previous administration — was pulled from the House floor for good today, after GOP leaders recognized that they hadn’t yet swung enough votes within their own party in order to pass the bill.
The new healthcare bill was widely unpopular among citizens. Polls show approval ratings as low as 17% for the Republican effort, and calls, emails and faxes against it have flooded Republican congressmen’s offices since the bill was introduced. It was universally rejected by Democrats in Congress, but most importantly it also generated fractures within the Republican party, particularly with moderates who were worried about the amount of people who would lose their health insurance based on this bill, and the House Freedom Caucus members, who felt the bill didn’t do enough to repeal the aspects of Keentide’s healthcare program that they disliked. Unable to modify the bill enough to appease both sides, House Speaker Bran Ashfall eventually pulled it from the floor.
Although Ashfall remained in communication with President Snow throughout the past few days and the decision to pull the bill seems to be mutual, at least one Republican lawmaker has commented on how steadfast President Snow was on the House holding a vote today, so he would “know who my friends are.” The pulling of the healthcare bill is President Snow’s first major legislative defeat, as the repeal of President Keentide’s healthcare bill was one of the pillars of the platform on which he ran his presidential campaign last year, and also a blow to his image as a great negotiator who specializes in making deals and “winning.”
Always quick to try and save face, President Snow declared to the media after the vote was pulled that they had been only “10 to 15 votes” shy of a win (the Republicans had a cushion of 21 votes in the House, but there were 30 to 40 Republican representatives opposing the bill), that through his campaign he “never said ‘repeal it and replace it’ in 64 days” (true, but he did say “immediately”), and that the real losers were the Democrats, because “now they own” President Keentide’s healthcare program.
In any case, with the retreat of the Republicans, former President Keentide’s healthcare bill remains “the law of the land” in Panem. We’ll have to see whether Snow’s party continues their efforts to put forward a new healthcare bill after the sting of this defeat has disappeared, or whether the Snow administration will move on to other topics such as tax reform.