Moderates balk at conservative-backed, revised health bill

Wikimedia US House of Representatives US Congress  Wikimedia Remix by Jason Reed

Several conservative interest groups also dropped their opposition to the bill.

But with Trump marking his presidency's milestone Saturday, he did not wring any major legislation out of Congress, despite a renewed White House push to revive the House GOP's health care bill in time for a vote that could give him bragging rights.

The text of the bill and a pair of amendments were posted late Wednesday on a website listing bills that may be considered this week on the House floor, but the House Rules Committee hasn't yet scheduled a meeting that would be needed to prepare for a floor vote. That includes a provision mandating that insurers charge those with pre-existing conditions the same as healthy consumers, and that insurers cover so-called essential health benefits, such as maternity care.

The AMA questions the GOP bill's approach on insurance protections for patients with health problems, saying it may not work at all and allow insurers to "effectively make coverage completely unaffordable to people with pre-existing conditions".

The outlines of a potential agreement remained fuzzy, but congressional aides familiar with the talks said Trump would emerge with border security funding that's unrelated to the wall and a $15 billion down payment for the military on top of $578 billion in already-negotiated Pentagon funding. "And I thought the Freedom Caucus was a great place to do that".

But Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin had pushed back on an artificial deadline and consistently said they would bring the measure to the floor when they had the votes.

The bitter partisan warfare over health care reform intensified on Thursday when congressional Democrats threatened to shut down the government this weekend if House Republicans try to move forward with a retooled bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

In a statement, the Freedom Caucus said while the new package "still does not fully repeal Obamacare, we are prepared to support it to keep our promise to the American people to lower health care costs".

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If 22 Republicans vote against the bill, it will fail.

Overall, the legislation would cut the Medicaid program for the poor, eliminate Obama's fines for people who don't buy insurance and provide generally skimpier subsidies.

The changes were authored by Reps. It was crafted by Rep. Tom MacArthur, a moderate from New Jersey, in consultation with the Freedom Caucus - in hopes of appealing to both the Freedom Caucus and moderates. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters that for Republicans, voting for the bill "is going to be doo-doo stuck to their shoe for a long time". It gets to where we all want to go. The 2015 repeal bill, which passed both the House and Senate, is a starting point for repealing Obamacare.

There was a clear upsurge in conservative support for the bill, with even Sen. Influential conservative Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, was also now backing it, as was Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala.

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Florida, told The Hill that he was still undecided, adding "I was a yes before, but there are a lot of red flags" with the new bill. And if you don't like it, "Figure out a way to change the state that you live in", according to White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, via The Atlantic.

If they want to stay in the marketplace and continue improving their bottom lines, "they will have to increase premiums", he said. "I'd like to see them wrestle with this for a while".

Republicans vote-counters had been weighing whether to hold a vote this week, after conservative holdouts endorsed the bill following recent revisions.

Peter's memo is being distributed by national organizations to every member of Congress and their staffs.

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