The chance of losing a core Obamacare protection for people with preexisting medical conditions in a GOP healthcare bill is putting its future further in doubt – along with the votes needed to pass it, according to The Washington Post.
Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., came out against the plan Tuesday – what the Post called a major blow to GOP leaders trying to secure enough votes to pass the measure in the House.
"I do think each minute that has passed, each hour, and each day, the 'no' members are becoming more locked in 'no,' and we may be losing members," Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., told the Post.
Republicans left their weekly conference meeting Tuesday with no healthcare vote on the schedule. The House is slated to recess Thursday until May 16.
According to The Washington Post analysis, 21 House Republicans are either opposed to or leaning against the bill; 22 more either undecided or unclear in their positions.
If no Democrats support the bill, the Republicans can lose no more than 22 GOP votes to pass it in the House.
GOP leaders have searched for a middle ground to attract conservative Republicans who want to do away with as many Obamacare regulations as possible – and centrist Republicans who worry about stripping vulnerable populations of the coverage they get under Obamacare, the Post noted.
But the balance has been elusive.
And by Tuesday, external pressures were making matters worse – including an unusual monologue on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" in which the host repeatedly teared up Monday night telling the story of his newborn son Billy's heart surgery – and pleaded with lawmakers not to threaten the protections people with preexisting conditions receive under Obamacare.
Video of the plea had gotten 5.2 million views on YouTube by Tuesday night – including former President Barack Obama, who tweeted "Well said, Jimmy. That's exactly why we fought so hard for the [Affordable Care Act] and why we need to protect it for kids like Billy."
In the House on Tuesday, the Post reported the immediate hurdles were clear to both advocates of the GOP plan and its detractors.
"The most sincere anger I've noticed comes from people who are sincerely scared, people who may have a preexisting condition who feel like they're about to lose [coverage] and they're going to die, and they're going to die because of a vote that we might be taking," said Rep. Thomas Rooney, R-Fla., who supports the plan, per the Post.
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