Republicans failed to garner enough votes to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA) Friday. Pulling the bill, the House went into recess.

The Republican’s first attempt to roll back Obamacare failed.

Who’s to blame?

Truthfully, everyone involved.

Paul Ryan

It was a milquetoast bill greeted with a resounding “meh” by everyone excited about the prospect of finally repealing Obamacare.

The AHCA dealt strictly with tenets of Obamacare which could be addressed via budget reconciliation, but public distrust of Congress no longer allows for a three-part promise.

There was no reason for Speaker Ryan not to pass a clean repeal bill, except of course if Senate leadership told him they didn’t have the votes on the other side of the chamber to pass one.

Ryan likely underestimated how difficult it would be to create a plan agreeable to 216 members, especially when the GOP’s election-winning mantra these last seven years has been the repeal of Obamacare.

Republican holdouts had legitimate concerns over the scope of the legislation. The House Freedom Caucus is certainly not to blame. Not this time. By all accounts, they were earnestly negotiating in the hopes of reaching a consensus.

The argument that Republicans had seven years to prepare a cohesive solution is there, and while true, it’s a bit oversimplified. What it doesn’t consider is the administrative changes and priorities of the Trump administration, with Dr. Price at the HHS helm and Trump in the White House.

Is Ryan damaged after losing his first battle? Doubtful. He remains a solid unifier and communicator of Republican policy. He’s also well-liked by his colleagues. In his post-bill fail press conference, he was clearly disappointed, but accepted responsibility and said it was all learning. Unlike Democrats, Republicans don’t vote or think in lock-step with party demands.

The transition from oppositional party to governing party is not an easy one, it would seem.

President Trump

Sources say Trump wasn’t angry about the bill’s failure.

The White House may have trashed Ryan via backchannels, but in a press conference Friday afternoon, Trump was complimentary of Ryan saying “he worked very hard.”

Like Ryan, he chocks the experience up to learning for the next go round.

Both Trump and Ryan reiterated the Obamacare world in which we live is the product of the Democrats. They’re right about that, but blaming the Democrats for Obamacare loses its punch when you’re the governing party poised to rid the regulations of the scourge of the ACA.

What’s next?

It’s back to the drawing board for Obamacare repeal and replace. For now, Congress and the White House will move on to tax reform, circling back to health insurance reform eventually.

President Obama spent a year laying the groundwork for Obamacare, which ultimately passed cleanly along party lines. Democrats paid dealy in the midterm elections as a result.

Trump’s first Executive Order was to chip away at Obamacare, and he likely made its repeal the first item on his policy list because that’s what he promised voters. Shortly after he was elected, he said in an interview it would take up to a year to repeal Obamacare, and he’s right.

Republicans have the time. As long as they’re able to pass something before midterms, it shouldn’t be an electoral blow either.

The health insurance fiasco is too consequential for false choices and rushed shoddy legislation.

Political ramifications aside, we’ll all be better off if Republicans take the time to repeal Obamacare right. The last thing we need is a Frankenstein health insurance bill with nasty policy cocktails, the product of last minute wheeling and dealing. We’ve been down that road before and it’s destroyed our health insurance market.

Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye

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