Politics

GOP Leadership Confident Obamacare Repeal Will Pass House

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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Following the House Republican conference meeting Thursday morning, GOP leadership asserted they are confident their Obamacare repeal-and-replacement measure will pass the lower chamber.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced Wednesday evening the vote would take place Thursday afternoon following an influx of support after an amendment was added to provide $8 billion to help cover pre-existing conditions.

While a handful of prominent members remain noes, including Pennsylvania Reps. Ryan Costello and Charlie Dent of the Tuesday Group and staunch conservative Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, several others said they were still on the fence. However, top Republicans said they are not worried about the bill failing.

“We’ll be fine,” McCarthy told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “We’re too committed to get this done.”

Leadership has been cautious, making sure they have secured enough votes to pass the legislation in the wake of their botched first attempt in March. Several amendments have been added to the legislation following their renewed negotiation efforts.

Tuesday Group Co-Chairman Tom MacArthur of New Jersey and House Freedom Caucus (HFC) Chairman Mark Meadows of North Carolina brokered an amendment allowing states to waive out of a number of the Affordable Care Act’s Title I regulations. This move gained the endorsement of the HFC, which was largely blamed for the failure of the initial attempt to pass the bill.

MacArthur’s amendment received some pushback from fellow Tuesday Group members who felt it could lead to an increase in premiums for people with pre-existing conditions. Republican Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan then introduced an amendment providing an $8 billion fund aimed at helping those with pre-existing conditions at risk of lapsing in coverage.

The final amendment flipped enough members for leadership to feel comfortable calling a vote on the measure, which is expected to pass by a narrow margin.

If it makes it through the lower chamber, a large part of the language is expected to be reworked in the Senate, leaving some congressmen concerned it will be unrecognizable when sent back to the House.

Virginia Republican Rep. Dave Brat, a member of the HFC, said they plan to engage with senators to ensure the final product brings down costs in addition to ensuring access to coverage.

“I mean it depends if they come up with some miracle right, which has you know shopping across state lines or something like that which moves in a more market-friendly direction. Well then, OK that’s great — and if it still has good coverage and brings down prices,” he told reporters Thursday. “But the worry around it is, it’s always the price. ”

Meadows said he has already talked to 14 senators about potential modifications to the bill and is not concerned the changes made will lead to a loss of support in the House.

“We’ve been engaged in a number of conversations with our Senate colleagues in ways to make it better,” he said. “And I’m optimistic that we’re working on a broad spectrum with different opinions in the Senate that it will come back even better and then we’ll get it passed and finally lower premiums.”

The timeline on how long it will take the Senate to make changes to the bill and pass the legislation is still up in the air.

“They’ve been watching this debate too, and they’ve been working — so we’ll have to see how far they can go, hopefully soon,” McCarthy told TheDCNF. “I’ve talked to a lot of senators to cover the bases — so it will be good.”

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