UPDATE: White House pulls Republican healthcare plan

Protestors file into Congressman Steve Knight's Santa Clarita offices on Feb. 23 to protest what they called "Trump care" with the United Here organization. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

The Republican party’s new bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act was pulled Friday afternoon.

All Democrats in Congress opposed the bill, leaving the Republicans trying to gather enough support for the plan after making revisions the day before. Trump said in a press conference from the Oval Office that the bill was only 10 to 15 votes short of passing.

“With no Democrat support, we couldn’t quite get there,” President Trump said at the press conference. “The best thing we can do politically speaking is let Obamacare explode. It’s exploding right now.”

Trump said the bill was hard for people to understand because it was the first of many stages with more to come. He said he hopes both political parties can come together to collaborate on a new version of the bill.

“The best thing that could happen is what happened today,” Trump said. “We’ll end up with a truly great plan after the mess that was Obamacare.”


This next year will be “really bad” and prove to be the end of Obamacare, Trump said.

The president said the bill made him learn about congress members’ loyalty. He thanked Paul Ryan, Mike Pence and the Republican party for their work on the bill.

President Trump said he feels he has a long time to create another bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, but does not yet want to speak on specifics of the replacement.

Trump said that his next plan is to work toward tax reform, which he’s “always liked.”

Congressman Steve Knight, who represents the Santa Clarita Valley, said his colleagues worked over the past two weeks to build a healthcare plan that is positive for Americans to replace what he referred to as a “flawed system.”

Knight did not take a stance in favor of or against the bill.

“The proposed legislation took many shapes and throughout the entire process our goal has been to be as informed as possible in order to make a decision that would benefit the people of California’s 25th Congressional District,” Knight said in a statement to The Signal.

“We learned that it is hard to find a consensus on something that impacts more than one-sixth of our economy and the lives of almost every American. I am thankful for the valuable input provided by so many constituents throughout the debate.”

Knight said his commitment moving forward is to create jobs in aerospace, improve treatment for veterans and increase opportunities for small businesses.

Before the vote was taken however, Philip Solomon, the CEO of Santa Clarita’s Samuel Dixon Family Health Centers said that before the Affordable Care Act became available, over half of the centers’ patients were uninsured.

Currently, nearly 80 percent of their patients have insurance, many because of the ACA.

“It benefits our patients because they now have a health plan they can get care for and have resources for the specialty resources they might need,” Solomon said. “We now have some guaranteed reimbursement for the services.”

Vicki Keller, a Santa Clarita Valley resident and registered nurse, participated in a protest at Congressman Steve Knight’s office on March 16 to protest the proposed Republican plan and show her support of the Affordable Care Act.

“Through the ACA which is established, people are able to get decent healthcare,” Keller said. “Nobody is saying that it’s cheap, but it’s available and more people than ever in this country are able to get health insurance. Certain healthcare rights are guaranteed.”

Holly Brannon, another Santa Clarita resident who attended the protest, said she thought the Republican plan was bad for poor people, seniors and children and wanted to keep the ACA.

“I’m very happy with (the Affordable Care Act),” Brannon said. “It’s the best healthcare I’ve ever had, and we’re talking decades.”

After the vote failed in the House on Friday, U.S. Speaker Paul Ryan said at a press conference that he believes America’s best days are still ahead of it. Congress will need to reflect on this healthcare bill to make the next one better, Ryan said.

“I will not sugarcoat this; this is a disappointing day for us,” Ryan said. “I’m really proud of the bill we produced. It would make a dramatic improvement in our healthcare system and provide relief to people hurting under Obamacare. The worst is yet to come with Obamacare.”

Ryan said it will be important to compromise on the next bill for it to pass.

“Are all of us willing to give something to get something done?” Ryan said. “Are we willing to say ‘yes’ to the good, to the very good, even if it’s not perfect? If we’re willing to do that, we still have such an incredible opportunity in front of us.”

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