President Donald Trump's remarks conceding defeat on repealing and replacing Obamacare demonstrated why his first big effort failed in the first place.
To begin with, the president remains only loosely attached to his own team. He referred to his Republican allies in Congress as "they," while casting himself passively as "sitting in the Oval Office ... pen in hand, waiting to sign something."
"For seven years, I've been hearing 'repeal and replace' from Congress, and I've been hearing it loud and strong," Trump told reporters at a photo op. "And then when we finally get a chance to repeal and replace, they don't take advantage of it. So, that's disappointing."
Second, Trump continued to display no understanding of health-care issues themselves. He again touted an alternative to Obamacare "with much lower premiums, much lower costs, much better protections."
If such a plan existed, congressional Republicans would have figured it out over the last seven years and passed it this year. Trump's summary assessment — "something will happen, and it will be very good" — showed that he doesn't have one either.
Third, his thinly staffed administration lacks an effective team to develop, push through Congress and implement a new system. As Trump dined at the White House to plot strategy with Senate leaders, he and his aides had no idea that GOP Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas at that moment were sinking their plans.
Read more: Trump owns plenty of blame for health care defeat