March 29 (UPI) -- Another attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is in the works, after a vote on a bill was abruptly canceled last week, the Trump administration says.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., acknowledged Friday that "Obamacare is the law of the land," referring to the existing healthcare legislation President Donald Trump eagerly sought to replace during his presidential campaign. A House vote on a GOP alternative healthcare plan was scrapped after it became clear it had inadequate support.
Both Ryan and Trump said the ACA would remain in force, but Republicans spent the weekend discussing the next step in approving a bill for which they once said had no backup plan, a senior administration official told CNN. At a Tuesday evening reception in the White House for senators and their spouses, Trump said a deal on a new healthcare bill will be pursued soon.
"I know we're going to make a deal on healthcare. That's such an easy one. So, I have no doubt that that's going to happen very quickly. I think it will actually, I think it's going to happen, because we've all been promising -- Democrat, Republican -- we've all been promising that to the American people, so I think a lot of good things are going to happen."
Republican leaders in Congress, though, must still unify opposing forces within their ranks, including moderates who believe the original bill went too far in denying support to low- and middle-income Americans seeking to buy health insurance, and conservatives who seek to have elements of Obamacare repealed more fully.
"Opposition to government-run healthcare has been a foundation of the Republican Party for three or four generations now, so it is difficult to see House Republicans walk away from efforts to protect the American people from this awful law. At the same time, after last week, it's difficult to see how the entire conference can find a unified position," Michael Steel, former spokesman for former House Speaker John Boehner, said, according to CNN.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday that no concerted effort to pass a GOP healthcare bill is about to proceed.
"Have we had some discussions and listened to ideas? Yes. Are we actively planning an immediate strategy? Not at this time," Spicer said in the daily press briefing.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said it was time to temporarily abandon plans to deal with healthcare and move on to other issues.
"It's pretty obvious we were not able, in the House, to pass a replacement. Our Democratic friends ought to be pretty happy about that because we have the existing law in place, and I think we are just going to have to see how that works out."