"For people who are concerned about the funding of this (continued Medicaid expansion), everyone who we treat, and doesn't commit a crime, is saving the public money".
Some Americans breathed a sigh of relief, others bubbled with frustration, and almost all resigned themselves to the prospect that the latest chapter in the never-ending national debate over health care would not be the last. They were the ones that did not offer their support although the Republicans have the majority both in the House and in the Senate.
Now, of course, the GOP controls the White House, and lawmakers have yet to agree to fund the subsidies. While insurers have to apply to sell coverage on their exchanges generally by late spring or early summer, they can drop out later. People who lose their health coverage tend to show up in emergency rooms, where the cost for their care is expensive and often falls back on the state.
MacArthur ended up being the lone New Jersey supporter in the delegation after Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen of Harding Township announced Friday he would join the state's three other Republicans and unanimous Democrats in opposing the bill.
Since the bill failed, Medicaid remains an open-ended entitlement, meaning anyone who qualifies can enroll.
Helmut Norpoth, a political science professor at Stony Brook University - and one of the few to predict Trump's win a year ago - said he also believes the fate of the bill doesn't presage the failure of the rest of his legislative agenda, and Trump may be better off moving on to his next priority, a tax overhaul.
However, Medicaid recipients may see some changes in the near future. Previous year alone, the average premium on ACA exchanges rose by about 22 percent while about 20 percent of customers had only one plan to choose, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The individual mandate - which requires almost all Americans to have coverage - remains in effect.
But insurers generally have to decide by this spring whether they will participate in order to leave enough time for regulatory approvals and marketing before enrollment starts next fall.
CORLETTE: Absolutely. And there are some big decisions that the Trump administration needs to make that will affect very strongly the insurance companies' pocketbooks. Trump may try to weaken it further, but he would suffer the wrath of insurers, who say it's an important way to prod younger, healthier Americans to sign up for coverage.
The President and Republican leaders are scrambling for a deal on landmark legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare.
"You could see even worse holes in the insurance package" than before the ACA, says Sabrina Corlette, a research professor at the Center on Health Insurance Reforms at Georgetown University. It will also hurt Americans stuck with Obamacare's various problems.
Time is running out. So the more you say it's collapsing, the more you kind of.
In addition to increasing what insurance companies can charge, the legislation also reduces tax credits that help older Americans with low and moderate incomes pay for their health-care premiums. You could be featured in a story.