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Connecticut Democrats react to failed Health Care Bill

HARTFORD – Connecticut Democrats are reacting to House Republicans decision to withdraw their bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) withdrew the party-devised American Health Care Act, dubbed Trumpcare, as representatives were debating it, nixing a vote scheduled for Friday afternoon. Earlier on Friday, Ryan had warned President Donald Trump that he did not have enough Republican votes to pass it.

FOX61 spoke to several Connecticut Democrats at Bradley International Airport as they returned from Washington.

“I think the magnitude of 24 million Americans losing their health insurance weighed very heavily on the rank and file members of the Republican party,” said Connecticut Representative John Larson.

Larson said it was the American people speaking out in Town Halls, in emails, and in phone calls, that stopped the Republicans from moving forward with the bill.

Representative Elizabeth Esty said she got more than 2,000 phone calls and emails from community members, only five saying the law should be replaced.

“The American people were not supporting uprooting the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with something that’s going cost more and get you less,” Esty said.

Esty said the law should not be replaced, rather changed, and feels it’s going to take Democrats and Republicans working together to fix it.

“We need to fix it,” she said. “Premiums are too high, for people still, drug prices are really high, I hear about that all the time, out of pocket can be too much, deductibles can be too much, let’s get together and fix it, it needs to be everybody at the table.”

Congressman Joe Courtney praised Obamacare for opening up access for people with chronic illness, helping families struggling with Opioid addiction, and closing the donut hole for seniors, but admitted it still needs work.

“No program is the 10 commandments we can always go back in and find ways to make improvements,” he said. "We're really anxious to go in and really start working together with a fix that we know is needed, but it didn’t require full repeal and dismantling all the progress that we made for millions of Americans."

Sen. Richard Blumenthal said America dodged a disaster.

“I think this Trumpcare proposal in a sense precipitated its own demise and it should be declared dead. We now should build on the existing law, improve it, it needs to be upgraded,” he said.

President Trump blamed the Democrats for Friday’s decision.

"We had no democrat support. They weren't going to give us a single vote, so it’s a very difficult thing to do,” President Trump said. "I've been saying for over a year - that the best thing we can do, politically speaking, is let Obamacare explode. It's exploding right now."