Health care sure is hard. Very.
The embattled bill seeking to replace major parts of Obamacare was yanked Friday from the floor of the House after it became clear that the measure would be defeated, in large part because of opposition from a relative handful of conservative and moderate Republicans.
And President Donald Trump said that the overall Republican effort in Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare could be suspended for some time, as his administration pivots to the issue of tax reform.
"We were very close, it was a tight margin," Trump said of the bill dubbed the American Health Care Act.
"We have to let Obamacare go its own way for a little while," said Trump, who also predicted that Obamacare is "now likely to explode."
"Obamacare is the law of the land, it's going to remain the law of the land," a disappointed House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc. told reporters.
"We're going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future."
Hillary Clinton, who was defeated by Trump in last fall's presidential race, tweeted, "Today was a victory for all Americans."
The failure of Republican leaders to pass their replacement plan — which they have repeatedly vowed to do — came a day after the seventh anniversary of the signing into law of the Affordable Care Act, as Obamacare is formally known, by President Barack Obama.
NBC News reported that Trump asked that the bill be pulled after it became obvious that the measure would fail in a scheduled vote.
A source told NBC that Ryan, during visit to Trump at the White House earlier Friday afternoon, had "pleaded to pull" the bill after telling the president that the GOP leaders had failed to convince enough of their fellow Republicans to support the plan.
Trump — who had wanted the vote — personally told Washington Post reporter Robert Costa about the move to avoid an embarrassing loss in the House during a phone call, Costa tweeted.
"We just pulled it," Trump reportedly said to Costa about the bill.
Trump also told Costa that he didn't blame Ryan for the failure to get the bill passed.
Costa told MSNBC that Trump told him that the health-care reform was not going to be pushed in the near future, but added that it might be resurrected before the end of the year.
Trump later called New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, who tweeted that the president expected Democrats to be blamed for the aftermath of the suspended vote.
Trump, in later statements in the Oval Office, said Republicans were 10 to 15 votes short of what they needed to ensure passage of the bill.
He also said, "I'm a little surprised" to opposition to the bill from the House Freedom Caucus, a group of strongly conservative Republicans.
"We just didn't quite get consensus today," Ryan told reporters. "We came very close."
"This is a disappointing day for us. Doing big things is hard," said Ryan, who noted that moving from an opposition party to a governing party, as Republicans have done in recent months, is difficult.
"This is a setback, no two ways about it," Ryan said. "But it's not the end of the story."
The speaker also predicted that "Obamacare is going to get even worse" in the absence of reform of the law.
GOP leaders and Trump have said Obamacare is a failure with premiums and deductibles that are too high, and a lack of choice among insurance plans for customers.
Trump's election as president in November, combined with Republican control of both chambers of Congress, had given the GOP its first real chance to repeal Obamacare in the law's existence.
But an increasing number of GOP House members had declared their opposition to the bill since Thursday night.
Republicans could afford to lose at most 22 members of their caucus in the vote. But as of Friday afternoon, there were 34 GOP House members publicly opposing the bill, according to an NBC tally.