In a blow, influential Republican a 'no' on health care bill

Kamil Krzaczynski  Reuters

Upton described the plan to The Associated Press late Tuesday, hours after he revealed he was opposing the bill because it weakened insurance protections President Barack Obama's health care overhaul provides people with pre-existing illnesses. To get the waiver, the state must have a high-risk pool or another mechanism to help such people afford a policy. House Speaker Paul Ryan praised the proposal and said the GOP was getting "extremely close" to finally being able to pass the stalled legislation.

Just as it appeared that the latest iteration of the Republican health care bill wouldn't muster enough support to pass the House of Representatives, new proposed changes earned the support of two critical members. By Tuesday evening, it had received more than 4.2 million views on YouTube.

"I read about it", said Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J., of Kimmel's viral speech, though he said he had not seen it. Lance opposes the current Republican plan.

The money in Upton's plan would help people with pre-existing illnesses pay premiums in states where insurers can charge them more.

President Donald Trump planned to meet Wednesday with lawmakers who authored a plan aimed at preventing another collapse of the Republican health care bill. His aides told CQ he was slated to visit the White House this morning with other Republican lawmakers key to the House's repeal effort.

"You know, the most honest anger I've noticed comes from people that are sincerely scared, people that may have a pre-existing condition that feel like they're about to lose it and they're going to die, and they're going to die because of a vote that we might be taking", Rooney said.

The White House is still optimistic for a vote before the House recess next week, with budget director Mick Mulvaney telling Fox News on Wednesday that the chamber might vote on the health bill as early as Saturday. On Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Capitol Hill again to coax legislators to support the bill.

"I've heard it, but I don't believe it's a dollar-and-cents issue", Collins said.

Republicans were forced to pull the bill in March or face defeat.

The amendment won over the hard-line House Freedom Caucus last week, in part by giving state governments the ability to apply for waivers from the existing law's required "essential health benefits", such as maternity, mental health and emergency care, and from rules that generally mandate the same rates for people of the same age, regardless of their medical conditions. "There's still a lot of undecided, but generally, at this stage of the game, you can address the concerns of the undecideds".

Like numerous moderates who are either opposed or leaning against the bill, Upton comes from a more moderates district, and voting for this bill could be politically toxic.

"I support the bill with this amendment".

Upton's plan likely wouldn't make much of a difference. In recent years, many of these lawmakers have complained that House leaders were catering too much to the party's conservative faction.

"The most honest anger I've noticed comes from people who are sincerely scared, people who may have a pre-existing condition who feel like they're about to lose (coverage) and they'e going to die, and they're going to die because of a vote that we might be taking", Rep. Thomas Rooney, R-Fla., who supports the current plan, told reporters.

"If we can not explain to people that is not going to happen, then it is going to be very hard to ever bring a bill to the floor".

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