A senior House of Representatives Republican aide said on Tuesday
night no decision had been made on bringing legislation to the floor
this week before the House is due to start a week-long break late on
A bill would need to be filed by late Tuesday night or early
Wednesday morning to hold the vote before the break.
Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina, who heads the
conservative House Freedom Caucus faction that helped block Trump's
first attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare,
said earlier on Tuesday Republicans were still "a handful of votes
The lack of movement among Republicans puts Trump in danger of his
second major legislative setback, raising questions about his
ability to secure passage of other parts of his agenda, including a
major tax reform plan.
Most House Freedom Caucus Republicans have gotten on board with the
new proposal, but Democrats are vowing to oppose any attempt to
unravel Democratic former President Barack Obama's signature
The latest Republican plan would allow states to opt out of
Obamacare provisions that force insurers to charge sick and healthy
people the same rates. That is seen as a concession to conservatives
to attract their votes.
Trump insisted in an interview with CBS News that aired on Sunday
that the protections for those with pre-existing conditions would
"I think it's time now" for a healthcare vote, the Republican
president said at the White House on Tuesday.
Even if a plan passes the House, it is expected to face a tough
fight in the Senate, where Republicans have a narrower majority.
Republicans contend that Obama's signature 2010 healthcare law,
which allowed some 20 million Americans to gain medical insurance,
is too intrusive and expensive.
The White House sent Vice President Mike Pence to the Capitol on
Tuesday to meet Republican holdouts on the party's latest effort to
pass a healthcare overhaul.
Republicans remain divided over key aspects of the healthcare bill,
with some lawmakers worrying about a potential spike in the number
of people without coverage, or sharp increases in insurance
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Representative Daniel Webster, whose central Florida district is
home to many retirees, said Pence told him he would try to work out
problems caused by proposed Medicaid spending caps that would limit
"I just think it’s going to cost us a lot in Florida,” Webster said.
Another Florida Republican, Thomas Rooney, said confusion over the
potential loss of coverage for pre-existing conditions had his
constituents scared that "they're going to die because of a vote
that we might be taking."
Conservative groups such as the Club for Growth and Heritage Action
started to increase pressure on moderate Republicans who were
resisting the bill, such as Representative Billy Long of Missouri.
"Billy is using liberal talking points to distort the truth," Club
for Growth President David McIntosh said, adding that Long "may want
to keep Obamacare."
Left-leaning groups, including the Center for American Progress
(CAP), were pushing their members to call lawmakers to urge them to
oppose the healthcare bill, including via 7,000 medicine bottles
delivered to congressional districts. Emily Tisch Sussman, a CAP
organizer, said those efforts had generated "tens of thousands" of
Patient advocacy groups, including the American Heart Association
and the American Diabetes Association, also oppose the reworked
bill, while the American Medical Association and others have
(Reporting by Richard Cowan, David Morgan, Steve Holland, Doina
Chiacu and Lisa Lambert, Ginger Gibson; Writing by David Lawder and
Paul Simao; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh, Peter Cooney and Paul Tait)
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