House GOP Leaders Set Obamacare Repeal Vote for Next Week

Republican Representative Phil Roe said after the Pence meeting that the bill probably would be changed to move up by one year, to 2019, the end of the Medicaid expansion.

Trump noted the White House agreed to make "certain changes" to successfully woo lawmakers but not did not elaborate on the details.

Ryan, the top House of Representatives Republican, also continued to champion the legislation, saying on cable news he was open to making "improvements and refinements", but adding, "The major components are staying intact".

"Given how narrowly we've threaded this needle", said Representative Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, "any abrupt change would probably be - could be a deal killer".

He said the income caps for the subsidies would likely come down from $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for couples - perhaps to $50,000 and $130,000, respectively.

Republicans in the Budget Committee pushed nonbinding proposals to phase out the Medicaid expansion more rapidly, help low-income people more with tax credits and require able-bodied Medicaid recipients to meet work requirements. This is why President Trump had to talk of changes, which may help to sway people back on the side of passing the bill through.

"We are on track and on schedule", insisted Ryan, voicing determination Thursday at a news conference to keep to a timetable for bringing the bill to the floor next week for a vote.

But keeping that promise has become a tough test of their Republican-controlled government.

Reportedly, even if it got to the Senate as is...several State Senators have already come out in opposition of the bill as it stands right now.

At an all-hands meeting Wednesday evening of House GOP lawmakers, Vice President Mike Pence and party leaders urged their rank-and-file to rally behind the legislation.

Republican Rep. Leonard Lance, a moderate from New Jersey who may be vulnerable in 2018, told CNN Tuesday that "I do not want to vote on a bill that has no chance of passing over in the Senate", Lance said.

Failing to pass a bill while his party controls both the House and Senate would be a devastating blow to his party and the premise of his presidency - that he was a dealmaker the country needed. That surpasses the 20 million who've gained Medicaid or insurance coverage under Obama's law.

Short of votes for their health care bill, Republican congressional leaders turned to President Donald Trump Thursday to wrangle support for the divisive legislation they hope to push through Congress before Easter.

Of course, the GOP bill will need 216 voted in order to pass to the House.

To be sure, Ryan's American Health Care Act (AHCA) had a lot of good things in it. Dave Brat, Gary Palmer and Mark Sanford-underscore the lingering doubts about the bill among some in the party. It eliminates the "Obamacare" mandate to buy health insurance, limits tax credits and unwinds a Medicaid expansion, but some conservatives say it doesn't go far enough.

Some moderate Republicans are nervous that the plan would cause struggling families to suffer, a prospect highlighted this week by a damning congressional projection that 24 million people could lose insurance within a decade under the new bill.

In this March 8, 2017, photo, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. speaks during a news conference at the Republican National Committee Headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington.

"I do not like the bill in its current form", he said.

Cotton disputes the suggestion that Obamacare is working well in Arkansas or enjoys much popularity, but acknowledges high anxiety among his constituents about what happens next.

Moderates are wary of Ryan's efforts to reel in more conservatives because some of those changes could make the measure even harder for them to support.

Trump said Friday he is "100% in favor" of the health care measure.

But some conservatives, having ousted the last House speaker, were beginning to grumble openly about Ryan's leadership. "And then we get on to tax reduction, which I like".

  • Todd Kelly