GOP California Rep. Jeff Denham asserted he wouldn’t get behind the House Obamacare repeal and replace bill, which was pulled off the floor in March due to a lack of votes, unless large portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) remain in place.
Denham, one of the top targets for Democrats in 2018, advocated for Medicaid expansion and requirements for insurers to cover pre-existing conditions at a town hall held Monday evening.
“I’ve expressed to leadership that I’m a ‘no’ on the healthcare vote until it is responsive to my community,” he said during a town hall, The Los Angeles Times reports. “There are things in the Affordable Care Act we expect to stay.”
The Trump administration renewed its efforts strike a deal with Congress after suffering massive backlash due to failure to pass healthcare legislation. Vice President Mike Pence, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus have taken the lead in the negotiation process, working with the different factions in an attempt to strike a deal the entire party feels comfortable supporting.
The initial bill fell short because conservatives felt it didn’t do enough to lower premiums. As concessions were made, the bill began to lose the backing of members of the moderate Tuesday Group.
Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus have been pushing for the removal of a number of Title I regulations, which they believe will lower costs. The administration has floated the idea of allowing states to waiver out of certain regulations in hopes of unifying the party.
While GOP lawmakers were unable to reach a consensus ahead of their Easter recess, leadership said they are hopeful they will have the votes after they return at the end of April.
House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy have repeatedly said they don’t want to place an “artificial timeline” on repealing the ACA, arguing it would be counterproductive to getting the bill right.
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