Republicans in the US House of Representatives, short of votes, have withdrawn a healthcare bill drafted to repeal and replace “Obamacare”.
House Speaker Paul Ryan on Friday withdrew the legislation after President Donald Trump called him and asked him to halt debate without a vote, according to Ryan spokesperson AshLee Strong.
Just a day earlier, Trump had demanded a House vote and said if the measure lost, he would move on to other issues.
Repealing and replacing former president Barack Obama’s healthcare law was one of the major campaign promises of Trump, and the defeat over the bill was seen as a major blow to his presidency.
The bill was withdrawn after lengthy negotiations among conservatives, moderates and others within Trump’s Republican Party ended without a deal.
Conservatives have condemned the Republican-drafted bill because it scraps Obamacare, but puts another government plan in its place. They believe healthcare should be left to the free market.
Democrats and moderate Republicans, meanwhile, fear the new bill will take insurance away from millions of people.
Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare, in 2010, providing health coverage for 20 million low-income Americans previously uninsured. Many middle-income Americans complained their premiums spiked as a result.
Millions of Americans would lose coverage next year under the withdrawn Republican plan, according to a review by the Congressional Budget Office made before last-minute amendments to the bill.