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Conservatives back revised health bill, GOP moderates balk

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House Freedom Caucus Announces Support Of House GOP Obamacare Repeal Bill Guest Post

Babin is leaving just one month after the majority of the group's members opposed the House GOP leadership's American Health Care Act, the legislation created to repeal and replace Obamacare.

The culmination of weeks of negotiations between Meadows and MacArthur, the compromise amendment aims to unite the House's centrist and conservative Republican wings behind the health care bill.

"If so, we would have already voted", MacArthur said when asked whether the bill has enough support to pass. "But we understand the optics, and we're working on that to make sure that it gets fixed". Some who supported the previous GOP health care bill, such as Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman, said they were now undecided.

It's an unenviable choice for these lawmakers: Vote for an unpopular bill that experts say would hurt people with pre-existing conditions, or risk getting blamed for refusing to help their party repeal Obamacare, not to mention buck their own president.

Democrats sounded almost giddy on Wednesday when the House Freedom Caucus agreed to changes in the America Health Care Act that made it potentially even less generous to millions of Americans. "It's simply bad policy that will cut a lifeline of health care for millions of Americans", Siegel's statement said.

"We are going to go when we have the votes", Ryan said.

The MacArthur amendment, proposed by moderate Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., will make essential health benefits - requiring plans to cover things like prescription drugs or maternity care - the federal standard but offer limited waivers to states that want to handle things differently and can prove that their approach will lower the cost of health care or increase coverage.

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Heritage Action for America, the lobbying affiliate of The Heritage Foundation, backed away from its key vote against the health care bill.

Because premiums for young and healthy people would likely decline under the proposed amendment, Republicans expect the measure to spur more people to buy coverage.

Representative MacArthur is a co-chair of the Tuesday Group, and his amendment granting waivers to the states is a bargaining chip to sway the roughly three dozen members of the Freedom Caucus to vote for Trump's bill. Democrats are again expected to oppose the GOP bill en masse.

The choice moderates face is to stand against President Donald Trump and congressional leaders, or to potentially go back on their promises to protect people with pre-existing conditions. In other words, with Freedom Caucus members on board, the vote definitely got a lot closer - but now it's in the hands of the moderates, who will have to decide whether voting with their party will be too politically risky in their constituencies. If, in the unfortunate circumstance the Senate Parliamentarian were to rule that these pro-life protections violate the Byrd Rule, we will not support the bill.

"We clearly had a very productive dialogue led by Tom MacArthur and Mark Meadows over the break and you could just sense the movement and the desire to get something done", said Rep. Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican.

The bill may be "going nowhere" in the Senate because the new language would likely run afoul of the Byrd rule, meaning it would require 60 votes in the Senate to pass, said Matt House, a spokesman for Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY. This new health care amendment would allow Congress to keep Obamacare benefits that would potentially be denied other Americans.

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