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Report: GOP Healthcare Vote Hanging by Thread

Image: Report: GOP Healthcare Vote Hanging by Thread
Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price (AP Images)

By    |   Monday, 01 May 2017 06:02 PM

The White House and congressional Republicans are working vigorously to avoid losing a second effort at repealing and replacing Obamcare, CNN reports.

After winning over reluctant conservatives last week with an amendment that allows states to opt out of the Affordable Care Act's requirement to cover pre-existing conditions, moderates in the party are expressing reservations.

The Hill reported Monday night that 22 Republicans oppose the bill — the maximum number of GOP defections that can be afforded — assuming every Democrat also votes against it.

Rep. Billy Long of Missouri, a tea party conservative, told The Hill he wouldn't support the bill because of the impact it could have on people with preexisting conditions.

“I have always stated that one of the few good things about ObamaCare is that people with pre-existing conditions would be covered,” Long said in a statement to The Hill.

According to CNN, Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah is cutting short his convalescence for back surgery to be present for the vote because it was so close. CNN reported that 21 Republicans are currently lined up against the bill.

Three other Republican House members — Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Rep. Daniel Webster of Florida and Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey — also announced on Monday they will vote against the bill.

“We’re not there yet,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said at a press briefing Monday afternoon, hours after other top White House officials all but predicted an imminent legislative victory for Trump.

“I think the president has made it clear that he’s not instituting a timeline,” Spicer added. “We have a good whip count, I think we feel good about where we are and where it's headed. But ultimately [Speaker Paul Ryan] and House leadership determine when to call a vote. I think that we know when the vote gets called, we’ll feel confident it will be able to pass.”

House leadership, along with Vice President Mike Pence and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, tried to urge moderates not to oppose the vote in meetings over the weekend, according to CNN.

President Donald Trump promised in an interview with Bloomberg on Monday that the final bill "will be every bit as good on pre-existing conditions as Obamacare." And Rep. Tom Cole said the best way to sway moderates is to "remind them there is a United States Senate, and it will change things. What we send over there isn't going over there on stone tablets."

But that doesn't quell the fears of some members.

"Seriously, you want me to go back and tell the people in my fourth of Nevada 'the Senate will make it better?'" Rep. Mark Amodei told CNN. "What the hell?"

The White House is eager to move forward on legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act to make good on a key campaign promise. Republicans tried but failed to pass a replacement bill in March in an embarrassing setback for the Trump administration.

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and White House economic adviser Gary Cohn on Monday said in separate interviews with CBS's "This Morning" that they thought there were enough votes to pass the bill this week.

House Republican leaders were more cautious. As of Monday afternoon, no vote had been scheduled and backers of the healthcare proposal had not released legislative language.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, chair of the House Republican conference, said Republican members needed time to understand new tweaks to the bill.

"We are having those member-to-members conversations right now," she told Fox News.

The House is slated to break for a week starting on Thursday, but may leave town even earlier because Republicans appeared unlikely to have enough support to pass the healthcare bill, a Democratic congressional aide said on Monday afternoon.

The conservative House Freedom Caucus, which brought down the previous effort to pass a healthcare bill, has endorsed the new measure.

"This bill doesn't get all the way there but it's a good step and is . . . the best we can get out of the House right now," said Representative Jim Jordan, chairman of the voting bloc, on CNN.

Rep.Charlie Dent, a moderate Republican from Pennsylvania, said he still had problems with the latest plan and suspected there were not enough votes to pass it.

"Too many Americans are going to be without coverage," Dent told MSNBC, adding that the plan could make things even worse for vulnerable Americans.

"Nothing has changed as far as I know," said one moderate GOP aide. "Our sense is we're not seeing a lot of moderates who are looking at this."

Reuters contributed to this report.

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The White House and congressional Republicans are working vigorously to avoid losing a second effort at repealing and replacing Obamcare, CNN reports.
healthcare, vote, reform, bill
Monday, 01 May 2017 06:02 PM
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