House sets ACA repeal bill vote for Thursday
Updated at 8:05 p.m. ET.
The U.S. House of Representatives will vote Thursday on Republicans' bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, a move GOP leadership said they wouldn't make unless the proposal would pass.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters Wednesday evening that Republicans have the vote to pass the American Health Care Act. The bill has been pulled shortly before planned votes twice, after McCarthy and House Speaker Paul Ryan determined it didn't have enough support.
"We're going to pass it," McCarthy told reporters, according to media reports.
The latest iteration of the AHCA includes a proposal from Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) to add $8 billion in funding to help cover individuals with pre-existing conditions after moderate Republicans balked at the coverage losses that could occur under the conservative healthcare reform law.
Several moderate Republicans flipped to yes votes once Upton's amendment was accepted, bringing the majority closer to the 216-vote threshold necessary to pass the bill.
Hospital leaders across the country — particularly in California, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania — have pushed their representatives to reject the bill. They warn that their states may not be able to afford to continue the Medicaid expansion if enhanced federal funding ends.
But insurers are more divided on the healthcare bill. The largest insurance industry group, America's Health Insurance Plans, has refused to take a stance on the proposed law even though it has urged lawmakers to repeal the ACA tax on health insurance premiums. Some other insurance leaders, including recently ousted Molina Healthcare CEO Dr. J. Mario Molina, have spoken out against the bill and warned it would force states to pull back on Medicaid expansion.
Ryan pulled the AHCA just minutes before a planned vote in March after a growing number of moderates and ultra-conservatives dropped their support of the Obamacare repeal-and-replace effort. House GOP leadership wooed the Freedom Caucus back on their side after new amendments brought the AHCA closer to repealing the ACA entirely.
But those changes, including provisions allowing states to determine how much how much insurers can charge older customers beginning next year and to request waivers to change the 10 essential health benefits now required to be part of nearly all health insurance plans scared off moderate conservatives and delayed another vote.
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