After drawing conservative Republicans on board to the American
Health Care Act, Republican leadership appears set to try to
bring back the American Health Care Act to the House floor for a
But the fate of the legislation appeared to be in doubt Thursday
as leaders raced to get the support of moderate Republican
An amendment released Tuesday night, authored by moderate
Rep. Tom MacArthur, appeared to placate conservatives who did not
think the original AHCA went far enough in its repeal of
The amendment would allow states to apply for a waiver that
would exempt their insurance markets from certain regulations
created by the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, if they can
prove it would bring down costs.
The waiver, health policy experts argue, could have
negative consequences for people with preexisting conditions
allow insurers to offer plans that cover
fewer health needs.
The tweak was enough to get the conservative House Freedom Caucus officially on
board with the bill, which could mean support from roughly 20
members who were against the original AHCA.
But the amendment may
have alienated more moderate members of the Republican
caucus and could leave the AHCA short of the votes it
needs to pass. Only 22 GOP members can vote against the bill for
it pass through the Republican-controlled chamber.
MacArthur, the author of the amendment and a co-chair of the
Tuesday Group, admitted
to reporters Thursday that the Republican conference
does not currently have enough votes.
Members of the House GOP conference that originally
said they would vote “yes” have now expressed doubts over
the amendment. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart said “there are
a lot of red flags” in the legislation and that he was
undecided on Thursday — he was a yes on the first version of
the AHCA. According
to The Hill, other newly undecided members include Reps.
Brain Babin, Mike Coffman, and Ryan Costello.
While the House GOP conference attempts to wrangle votes,
the White House has also sought to apply pressure ahead of
the 100-day mark in President Donald Trump’s
administration. Mick Mulvaney, the Office of and Management
and Budget director, told CNBC that he was “still holding out”
for a vote on Saturday, while other reports suggested a vote
could come Friday.
Pushing back on any timeline, House Speaker Paul Ryan has
repeatedly said leadership will not bring the legislation
to the floor until “we have the votes.”
Passing the AHCA through the House represent a significant hurdle
cleared, but it would also lead to new challenges.
Several Republican senators have expressed serious doubts about
the AHCA. And since Republicans are attempting to move the
healthcare bill through the budget reconciliation process, there
have been questions whether the bill would even qualify
under the Senate rules.