Trump predicts Obamacare will 'collapse', says Republicans were 'close' on health care

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., departs after speaking to the media after a Republican caucus meeting on Capitol Hill, Thursday, March 23, 2017, in Washington.

"We came really close today, but we came up short", Ryan said.

Republicans who backed the bill spoke of an opportunity lost, the chance to make good on a campaign promise they'd made the day Obamacare became law eight years ago.

Boehner was forced out of office in 2015 largely by the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, the same group whose opposition was largely responsible for the crumpling of the GOP bill on Friday.

"Now they own Obamacare... for a little while longer, until it ceases to exist, which it will in the near future" he added. "We could have had it".

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said that "at some point" lawmakers have to address the costs and availability of health care and said he was willing to work with the administration and both parties to do that. "But it won't do that, it's imploding and soon it will explode".

The Obama law was approved in 2010 with no Republican votes.

Republicans had for years insisted Obamacare repeal was a paramount priority.

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Mr Trump is certain to be weakened politically - with a big early congressional defeat adding to the continuing inquiries into his presidential campaign's Russian Federation connections and his unfounded wiretapping allegations against Mr Obama. We need to get 216 people to agree with each other to write legislation.

A vote on US President Donald Trump's "Obamacare" repeal bill has been withdrawn at the last minute after it failed to gain enough support to pass in Congress.

He had "never said repeal and replace it in 64 days", a dejected but still combative Trump said at the White House, though he had repeatedly shouted during the presidential campaign that it was going down "immediately". "And I think that's where, you know, we came to a decision that it had gotten as far as it can go".

After hours of debate on the House floor, voting was expected to start around 3:30pm local time.

The House and Senate had hoped to deliver a new healthcare bill to Trump by April 8, when Congress is scheduled to begin a two-week spring break. Ryan shelved it amid defections from centrist Republicans who thought it went too far and conservatives who considered it too weak, plus solid Democratic opposition. However, the number of renegade Republicans was believed to be anywhere between 24 and 36, according to mainstream media outlets.

Republican tax credits would have been based on age, not income like Obama's, and the tax boosts Obama imposed on higher-earning people and health care companies would have been repealed. He issued the statement, he said, after a Friday night conversation with Trump. "You can't force someone to vote a certain way".

With health care apparently behind them, Republicans appear poised to pursue other parts of their legislative agenda, including border security, rebuilding the military, controlling the deficit and tax reform. While political analysts said the matter seemed dead for now, some conservatives urged Republicans not to throw in the towel.

"The American people expressed their support" for the Affordable Care Act, which "became very clear to our colleagues across the aisle", Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) said.

  • Sidney Guerrero