After a show of optimism and confidence on the new health care bill by the GOP, it is now turning out that passing the Obamacare repeal won’t be as easy. The party is struggling to secure the votes needed to pass the bill in both houses. There are GOP lawmakers who have already come out publicly to express their discontent with the American Health Care Act or what most of us have come to know as the Obamacare. These events have simply cast doubt on the popularity of this revised bill, especially among GOP lawmakers. In recent days, the GOP leadership has been trying to shore up support from the moderates by promising new funding to protect Americans who are already sick.
On Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan told Hugh Hewitt, host at a conservative radio that the party was getting very close towards securing the required votes to pass the repeal. However, Mr. Ryan failed to confirm whether the bill will come up for a vote in the course of the week. One of the main contentious issues is an amendment added to the Trumpcare bill by New Jersey Rep. Tom MacArthur. The amendment will allow states to ask for waivers in order to repeal some parts of the Obamacare protections if indeed they have evidence that such an action will help lower costs. The more conservative members of the GOP who opposed the Trumpcare bill in the first place seem to be happy with this amendment and this will help shore up confidence that the bill will pass this time round if it comes to a vote.
However, there is still some concern from moderate members of the Republican Party. They argue that the Trumpcare bill in its current form could undermine the protection of people who already have pre-existing conditions. It is widely expected that an amendment to this bill will be proposed by Rep. Fred Upton in order to address some of the concerns raised by the moderate republicans. Upton’s amendment is designed to reduce the severity of penalties for people who will allow their insurance to lapse.
It’s not yet clear though whether this amendment will be enough to ensure that Trumpcare sails through but even then, no one really knows exactly how the final bill will look like. There is also the concern that adding more amendments to the bill in its current version could cause GOP conservatives to vote against it. Pressure is growing for President Trump and his administration to ramp up support for the new health care act while delicately managing various concerns and interests within the Republican Party. Trump is on record saying on Tuesday that indeed now was the time to pass the health care bill.
In addition to this, leaders within the GOP party including Vice President Mike Pence and Majority Leader in the House, Kevin McCarthy, have already told the press that the American Health Care Act would pass this week. Some have argued though that for the republicans it’s not really about getting things right but simply to pass the bill. Speaking to Politico, Rep. Tom Cole went as far as saying that republicans would do whatever it takes just to make sure the bill is passed without worrying about the circumstances. It remains to be seen though whether Trumpcare will come up for a vote this week or not.