Former House speaker John Boehner said Thursday that Republicans won't deliver on a years-long promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act, telling an audience at a health care conference that "repeal-and-replace" is "not going to happen," and that the GOP will instead fix the ACA's current framework.
"I shouldn't call it repeal-and-replace, because it's not going to happen," Boehner told Politico.
"Most of the framework of the Affordable Care Act ... that's going to be there," he added in the Politico interview.
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) February 23, 2017
Boehner, who resigned from Congress in 2015, is no longer shackled by the constraints of leading House Republicans. That means he's free to admit his party won't be able to completely repeal the ACA.
Boehner's comments run counter to promises from President Donald Trump and current Congressional Republicans.
Trump has promised that a full repeal and replacement will happen, and added that a replacement framework is coming in March. So far, there are few details of what that replacement will entail, despite the fact that Republicans have vowed to replace the law since it was passed.
Boehner himself also promised a full repeal and replacement on numerous occasions during his tenure as speaker, as well as oversaw more than 50 repeal votes.
In May 2012, Boehner said, "Anything short of [a repeal] is unacceptable."
— Emily C. Singer (@CahnEmily) February 23, 2017
Later that year, after President Barack Obama won re-election, Boehner admitted that Obamacare was the "law of the land" — but still promised a full repeal and replacement after coming under pressure from his party for his comment.
"Our goal has been, and will remain, #fullrepeal," Boehner tweeted.
ObamaCare is law of the land, but it is raising costs & threatening jobs. Our goal has been, and will remain, #fullrepeal.
— John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) November 8, 2012
Now, however, Boehner is saying a speedy repeal and replacement of Obamacare — which Trump has promised — is never going to happen.
"I started laughing," he said of the talk of the quick repeal and replacement, Politicoreported.
"Republicans never ever agree on health care," he added.