Once again, Republicans are attempting to deliver the votes to pass a new healthcare bill in the House aimed at repealing and replacing ObamaCare. If it passes, and the possibility of that prospect is still unknown, the bill would move to the Senate where the process would basically begin anew at making changes to whatever the House might manage to pass.
The vote is scheduled to happen at 1:15pm ET today, but that could be subject to change, or subject to pulling the bill just like last time if Ryan can’t come up with the votes.
NBC News reports:
House Republican leaders plan to hold a vote on their health care bill Thursday, sending the strongest signal yet that enough support has been corralled to pass it.
Asked whether they had the votes needed to pass the bill, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California said Wednesday night, “Yes, we do.”
“I feel great about the count,” McCarthy added.
Republicans have been working to piece together a GOP-only coalition of 216 votes ever since their attempt to repeal and replace much of the Affordable Care Act failed nearly two months ago. The House Rules Committee approved three major amendments Wednesday night, moving them along in time for a vote Thursday.
Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-New Jersey, the author of one of the amendments, told NBC News: “It’s not a perfect bill — nobody says it is — but directionaly it’s going in the right place.”
The latest iteration of the American Heath Care Act aims to protect those with pre-existing conditions by adding $8 billion for five years to help people with long-term health issues afford care. Health care experts, however, say the amount is too little to address the needs, and several patient advocacy groups have come out against the bill.
Some members thought the additional funds were needed because of a previous change that would allow states to opt out of insurance mandates required by Obamacare that protect patients and consumers but that some conservatives blame for rising health care costs.
In the new version of the bill, states would be able to opt out of the requirement that insurers cover benefits such as maternity care, mental health care and hospitalization
This new version of the AHCA is basically a balancing act between lifting ObamaCare provisions to placate conservatives, but keeping enough of them in place to satisfy the moderates. In essence, neither faction will be totally thrilled if it passes, but they might be willing to hold their collective noses and let it proceed.
As Business Insider reports, the vote margin will be razor-thin and there is no room for error:
The vote is expected to be close, with a number of Republican holdouts still expressing concerns over the bill’s potential effects on people with preexisting conditions.
Despite the narrow count, McCarthy appeared confident Wednesday that the bill would pass.
“Do we have the votes? Yes. Will we pass it? Yes,” McCarthy said.
The White House appears similarly confident in the bill’s passage. A White House aide told attendees at a dinner with religious leaders that Republicans felt confident that they had 218 votes in the House and could have as many as 220, according to Bill House and Anna Edgerton at Bloomberg. The bill needs 216 votes to pass.
What’s in this new bill, you might be asking yourself? Well, we know just as much as most members of Congress, according to Manu Raju, of CNN:
A number of House members say they haven't seen latest version of bill that will remake the health care system and will be voted on tomorrow
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) May 4, 2017
So, once again, even with the failure of the first round, we’re back to passing a bill to find out what’s in it. What could go wrong?