Conservatives back revised health bill, GOP moderates balk

That meant determining which moderate Republican House members were legitimately afraid of losing vital constituent support if they voted to destroy Obamacare, and which moderate Republicans could most likely survive voting to destroy Obamacare. The amendment moves the bill further to the right by giving states the option to roll back more of Obamacare's requirements.

Even if all House Freedom Caucus members are on board, GOP leaders will still need to the support from moderate Republicans.

They are concerned about weakening the protections for people with pre-existing conditions - a major reason that the MacArthur amendment is not sitting well with a significant swath of the House GOP conference.

GOP sources have said the exemption helps the bill meet certain requirements once it gets to the Senate but also said it would be fixed - after the health care bill passes.

"I'm open to any good idea that gets us across the line", he said.

Moderate leader Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., said the changes ignored his concerns that the health care bill would cut too deeply into the Medicaid program for the poor and leave many people unable to afford coverage.

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Other Republicans said the House should send the measure to the Senate to keep the effort alive. Representative Steve Chabot of OH said everyone is proceeding quietly so that nothing happens "to blow everything up".

- For coverage starting as early as next year, states could seek waivers of federal restrictions on premiums charged to older adults.

Leaders of both parties cited budget progress Tuesday after Trump signaled he was abandoning his demand that the measure include money for his proposed border wall with Mexico, an idea strongly opposed by Democrats and many Republicans.

Another concern is the estimate that millions of people would lose their health care coverage as a result of the bill.

"We're not going to overpromise anything; when the votes are there, the speaker will bring it to the floor, but no sooner than that", White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told reporters late Tuesday.

"I think health care reform, repealing and replacing Obamacare is just around the corner", Vice President Mike Pence added on NBC's "Meet the Press". 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 unsafe in their constituencies. "With this amendment, I'd like to think we have greater than 80 percent - we are very confident in that".

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Text of the new bill was unavailable Tuesday, however, and any new proposal would have to surmount the same obstacles that stalled the House GOP leadership's plan before Congress left for a two-week recess in early April. But a leading GOP moderate criticized the reshaped legislation as a conservative exercise in "blame-shifting and face-saving" that wasn't winning new support from party centrists, leaving its fate unclear.

Opposition from many inside that group, who wanted a more robust repeal measure, along with skepticism from many Republican moderates, was pivotal to Ryan's decision last month to abruptly scrap a vote on the bill for lack of votes.

The embrace by the hard-line Freedom Caucus Wednesday supplied fresh votes and momentum for GOP leaders, who also lined up behind the plan and crave a legislative victory for themselves and President Donald Trump.

So long as states can create and fund a high-risk coverage pool for affected consumers, they can apply for limited waivers from the community rating provision of the Affordable Care Act, which requires insurers to cover those with pre-existing conditions.

"I don't have anything scheduled for next week", he said of the healthcare bill. "I don't know how much".

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