After a frenzied week of revamping their Affordable Care Act replacement bill, House Republicans once again stalled a planned vote on the healthcare reform measure. "As soon as we have the votes, we'll vote on it," House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters late Thursday after leaving a meeting of the House GOP leadership that lasted nearly two hours.
Although the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus announced it supported the altered American Health Care Act, which came closer to gutting Obamacare than an earlier version, moderate Republicans balked at the deeper cuts and prevented GOP leadership from securing the votes necessary to pass the much maligned bill.
The latest version of the Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill would let states determine how much insurers can charge older customers beginning next year. In 2020, states could apply for a waiver to change the 10 essential health benefits now required for nearly all health insurance plans. The goal of any of these changes, according to the bill's authors, is to reduce premiums for the majority of customers.
But Democrats remain solidly opposed to the AHCA. They claim the bill's provisions will hamper healthcare coverage and increase costs. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters that for Republicans a vote for the bill "is going to be doo-doo stuck to their shoe for a long time."
Some moderate Republicans said they would vote against the revised AHCA, citing fears that people with serious illnesses could struggle to gain coverage under the reforms. It is also unclear whether the revised plan would be able to pass the Senate.