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In this 2012 file photo, Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., the chair of a field hearing by the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, speaks as the subcommittee hears witnesses on proposed nationwide drilling rules on hydraulic fracturing at the Capitol in Denver. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
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Doug Lamborn: Health care bill’s failure a ‘setback,’ not the end of effort to repeal Obamacare

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Following the demise of the GOP health care bill, U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R.-Colo., lamented the lost opportunity to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

“This is a setback,” the Republican congressman representing the Colorado Springs area said, “and if it’s the last action we ever take, then we will have dropped the ball big time.”

Lamborn said he didn’t believe Friday’s failure is the end of efforts to end Obamacare, adding, “We’re going to go back to the drawing board.”

“I’m still optimistic that we can do a better job than this measure in tackling this problem,” Lamborn said.

The decision to pull the legislation Friday afternoon marked a shocking turn of events for an effort seven years in the making, and Republicans’ top legislative priority.

Lamborn’s support for the proposed law appeared to see-saw in the past week.

On March 17, Lamborn said he was undecided and wanted to see more conservative provisions in the bill, including hastening the federal government’s rollback of Medicaid expansion. The proposed health law called for the benefit to end in 2020, but Lamborn said he would have liked that to happen as early as next year.

On Tuesday, Lamborn appeared much more supportive after President Donald Trump visited the GOP Conference meeting to stump for the legislation.

“It has been very encouraging to see the president working hard alongside House leadership and members to make our American Health Care Act (AHCA) bill as conservative as it can be,” Lamborn said, in a statement posted to his website. He later added: “We have pledged to repeal and replace Obamacare, and that is exactly the process the House will begin with our vote later this week.”

When the bill was pulled Friday, Lamborn said he was undecided amid concerns about a provision affecting assistance to veterans.

Lamborn lobbied Republican leaders to include work requirements for Medicaid recipients and the transformation of Medicaid into a block grant program.

He cheered several concessions won by the House Freedom Caucus – a group of several dozen mostly tea party lawmakers who pushed for conservative changes in the proposal.

Lamborn, who left the Freedom Caucus about a year ago, said he appreciated the group pushing the law to the right, but said their relentless bargaining came at the cost of more moderate Republicans’ votes.

“Sometimes, like any of us, they have the potential to let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” Lamborn said.

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