House Counts Votes for American Health Care Act… Again
No, this isn’t déjà vu, House Republicans are once again on the path to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Having hoped for a vote on the bill before President Trump’s 100 days mark, the bill returned with the controversial MacArthur amendment, so named after Representative Tom MacArthur of New Jersey. Originally hailed as a compromise between the conservative and moderate wings of the GOP, it has recently brought members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus on board at the cost of alienating the moderate members.
The amendment would allow states to voluntarily opt out of some of the ACA regulations as long as they could prove that they are expanding coverage or saving money by doing so. However, some predict that these changes could increase the cost of insurance for elderly Americans and Americans with pre-existing conditions, which soured some against the bill — including members of the house who previously supported it.
So, while they gained new votes from the Freedom Caucus, they lost more moderate votes at the same time. This effectively put Republican leaders back where they started; with a bill that does not have enough votes to pass after years of promising they would repeal the Affordable Care Act.
According to CNN, 21 mostly moderate House Republicans have said will vote against the bill, while 17 are still undecided. Because the Democrats will not vote to approve the bill, the Republicans can lose no more than 22 votes within their own party and still pass the legislation.
As of now, there is still no vote scheduled for this week, and it is still up in the air if there will be one prior to the House going on a week-long recess next week. House Speaker Paul Ryan has previously said the bill will only be voted on “when we have the votes.”
However, some in the Trump administration are ready to vote now and putting pressure on the house get it done.
“We’re convinced we’ve got the votes,” said Gary Cohn, President Trump’s chief economic advisor, in an interview with CBS This Morning on Monday.
Furthering the pressure for the bill is Vice President Mike Pence, who has been working with congress on this healthcare bill since these efforts began, is expected to spend Tuesday on Capitol Hill meeting with both House and Senate representatives to hammer out the details.
President Trump himself is optimistic that a bill will pass as early as Wednesday, is adding to confusion stating that the bill can still be changed.
“I want it to be good for sick people. It’s not in its final form right now,” the President told Bloomberg News on Monday. “It will be every bit as good on pre-existing conditions as Obamacare.”