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The GOP Replacement for Obamacare Doesn't Have Enough Votes to Pass

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The American Health Care Act, the Republican health care plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, appears to be in jeopardy as it nears its floor vote on Friday. Paul Ryan apparently rushed to the White House Friday afternoon to tell President Trump the legislation currently does not have the votes to pass.

On Friday, several House Republicans who were previously against the bill said that they are now likely to support it, The Washington Post reports. According to the Post, GOP leaders said a vote is expected by late Friday afternoon. Earlier Friday, the revised legislation was sent to the full House for debate, which will take several hours, the Post reports. 

In a last push for votes, on Thursday night Trump gave an ultimatum to House Republicans—either vote to approve the legislation on the House floor Friday, or reject it and Trump will leave it and focus on his other legislative priorities, according to the Post. He also (as always) tweeted on Friday.

Representative Mark Meadows (R-NC), chairman of the Freedom Caucus in the House, who is optimistic that negotiations will lead to amendments to the bill, said on Wednesday night, “We’re encouraged tonight, just based on the real willingness of not only the White House, but our leadership, to make this bill better,” The New York Times reports.

As of Friday morning, according to the Post, 33 House GOP members have said that they oppose the bill and assuming that there are no Democrats in support, if Republicans lose more than 22 votes, they won't be able to pass the legislation.

Republicans have criticized the bill, according to the Times, saying that the party is moving too fast. Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) said, “This health care repeal affects millions upon millions upon millions of Americans. Don’t jam a disastrous bill through the House with patched-up fixes.”

Representative Charlie Dent (R-PA), leader of a moderate bloc of lawmakers known as the Tuesday Group, said that he opposes the bill, “I believe this bill, in its current form, will lead to the loss of coverage and make insurance unaffordable for too many Americans, particularly for low- to moderate-income and older individuals,” the Times reports. Furthermore, Rep. Dent said that he hoped the House would “step back from this vote and arbitrary deadline to focus on getting health care reform done right.”

Other, more conservative members of the GOP who don’t support the bill have argued that it doesn’t go far enough to completely repeal the Affordable Care Act. Representative Jeff Duncan (R-SC) argued that he wanted a complete repeal of Title I, which mandates that certain benefits must be provided by insurers and prohibits insurers from raising rates based on gender and preexisting conditions, the Post reports.

In the midst of all of the talk surrounding the bill, Barack Obama released a statement saying, “So the reality is clear: America is stronger because of the Affordable Care Act. But we should start from the baseline that any changes will make our health care system better, not worse for hard-working Americans. That should always be our priority.”

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer is confident that the House will pass the GOP’s bill, according to the Post. “Slowly but surely we’re getting there. There is no Plan B. There’s Plan A and Plan A. We’re going to get this done.”

If the GOP is unable to pass this crucial bill that both the party and President Trump promised during the election season, the GOP may find it difficult down the road to pass other key initiatives.

 

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