An amendment to the Senate GOP healthcare plan proposed by Sen. Ted Cruz is shaping up as possibly key to the fate of the bill, The Hill reported on Wednesday.
Some conservative congressmen who objected to the original GOP Senate legislation have indicated they could support the bill if it includes Cruz's amendment, which would allow insurers to sell plans that do not comply with Obamacare insurance regulations, so long as they also sell ones that do adhere to those rules.
Although the exact text of Cruz's amendment has not been made public, its goal is for the plans that don't adhere to Obamacare's insurance regulations to be cheaper than those that do.
As a sign of their seriousness, Republican senators have asked the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office for a score of the revised GOP Senate plan with Cruz's proposal and for a score that doesn't include his changes, Axios reported.
The Congressional Budget Office had estimated that the original GOP Senate plan would leave 22 million Americans uninsured.
The Cruz amendment, however, by pleasing the conservatives, especially in the House, risks alienating Senate moderates, who seek to maintain the protections for pre-existing conditions.
"It hasn't been fleshed out yet, so I believe pre-existing conditions ought to be covered, and we shouldn't deny people coverage with pre-existing conditions, so that would have to be worked out," Ohio Sen. Rob Portman said of Cruz's proposal.
There are also technical difficulties to overcome. Even if Cruz's amendment gains enough backing, for example, it might not meet the strict requirements of reconciliation, the budget maneuver Republicans are using for the bill in order to avoid a Democratic filibuster.
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