- The Washington Times - Friday, March 24, 2017

President Trump said Friday that the health care bill to repeal and replace Obamacare fell short in the House because of no support from Democrats.

“When you get no votes from the other side, meaning the Democrats, it’s really a difficult situation,” Mr. Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “We had no Democrat support.”

Mr. Trump said Republicans were 10 to 15 votes short on a health care vote when he and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan agreed to pull the legislation from the floor. He said “Paul worked really hard” on the legislation and that he was “a little surprised” by the opposition from members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

“We learned a lot about loyalty,” Mr. Trump said. “I’m disappointed, but they’re friends of mine. It was a very hard vote. They’re very good people. I like Speaker Ryan. He’s got a lot of factions. There’s been a long history of liking and disliking, even within the Republican Party, long before I got here.”

The president said he would be “open” to tackling Obamacare again, predicting the health care law will implode soon. He said Washington needs to let Obamacare “go its own way” for now.

“Bad things are going to happen to Obamacare. The insurance companies are leaving one by one,” he said. “Now we’ll go back to real life. People will see how bad it is … after this mess known as Obamacare explodes.”

He predicted that Democrats would soon reach out to him to work on a new health care bill, because costs are rising too much and choices are dwindling under Obamacare.

“Perhaps the best thing that could have happened, happened today, because we’ll end up with a truly great health care bill in the future,” the president said. “They’re going to reach out when they’re ready. Whenever they’re ready, we’re ready. I think having bipartisan [bill] would be a big, big improvement.”

He said there were “things in this bill I didn’t particularly like,” but didn’t elaborate.

The president, dealt a big loss only two months into his term, said he would probably “start going very strongly for the big tax reform and tax cuts” next on his agenda.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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