Published: Fri, April 28, 2017
Health | By Jay Jacobs

US Republican leaders seek votes for healthcare bill

US Republican leaders seek votes for healthcare bill

House Republican leaders have delayed a vote on an Obamacare replacement plan until next week at the earliest, denying President Donald Trump a major victory during his first 100 days in office.

Leadership is struggling to secure enough votes for the new bill and Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, reiterated to reporters on Thursday, "We're going to go when we have the votes, but that's the decision we'll make when we have it".

The latest proposal, drafted by MacArthur, a moderate Republican from New Jersey, would allow states to obtain waivers from federal mandates that insurers cover certain "essential health benefits", such as emergency services, maternity care, and mental health and substance abuse services, which many Republicans argue have driven up premiums.

Dent is one co-chairman of the Tuesday Group; the other, Rep. Tom MacArthur, co-wrote the current amendment with the chairman of the HFC, Rep. Mark Meadows, and moderates aren't happy about that either.

While the conservative House Freedom Caucus announced its endorsement of the bill Wednesday, there are still several moderate Republicans saying they won't support it.

That claim was immediately met with scorn from Obamacare supporters. That's the percentage of respondents to a March Quinnipiac poll who said they supported the bill shortly before GOP leaders pulled it from consideration in the House.

But since then, Republicans have worked to amend the ACHA to alleviate some of those concerns.

But the amendment may have alienated more moderate members of the Republican caucus and could leave the AHCA short of the votes it needs to pass.

On Wednesday, the bill got a big boost when the Freedom Caucus came out in favor of the new bill.

The most recent changes to the bill have won the formal backing of the conservative Freedom Caucus, but some moderates remain opposed.

MacArthur said the health care system is "on the brink of collapse" and millions will be hurt if that happens. The fear among a number of GOP members is that their constituents will blame them for any fallout from a new health-care law.

Could the GOP health care bill fail once again, or could the party finally accomplish what it couldn't do a month ago?

Some lawmakers and GOP aides suggested leaders were less than 10 away from the 216 votes Republicans will need to prevail. Some lawmakers are pushing for a quick vote even as industry groups are starting to weigh in with criticism of the revised measure.

A spot to air on broadcast TV by Save My Care, meanwhile, says MacArthur "wouldn't protect us from a bill that raises premiums".

Democratic leader Chuck Schumer insisted that any vote only occur when Republicans abandon efforts to add provisions on abortion, financial regulations and the environment to the legislation.

Despite some optimism among House leaders for a quick vote on the health bill, the outcome was hard to predict. "They are both right positions, and my amendment was just meant to bridge the divide between those two".

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