NEW LIFE for Obamacare Replacement

NEW LIFE for Obamacare Replacement

Trump’s Obamacare repeal and replace bill had new life breathed into it unexpectedly today. Two more Republicans stepped forward to say they would sign off on the bill: Reps. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Billy Long (R-MO) both joined those supporting the bill, provided that an amendment would provide $8 billion over five years to help people with preexisting conditions. Deals are being struck and this may not be dead after all. But it was damn close. We still have a long way to go in seeing whether Obamacare is actually repealed, or just reworded. It matters a lot. I believe these two men are moderates and this won them over.

Upton himself said on Tuesday afternoon that more money for the high-risk pools “does not do the trick,” but he appeared to have a change of heart on Wednesday. A deal must have been struck somewhere, because now he’s on board. Republicans are frantically cutting deals because they want a vote on this before a one-week recess takes place. They need to show their constituents that they can actually get something done for a change. Upton said votes in the House Rules Committee, which would set up debate of the bill on the floor, could be held as soon as Thursday.

From The Hill:

Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Billy Long (R-Mo.) on Wednesday said they would support the GOP’s ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill with the addition of an amendment, giving the effort new momentum as GOP leaders push toward a floor vote.

The two Republicans made the announcement at the White House after meeting with President Trump.

“I think it is likely now to pass the House,” Upton said.

But Upton added he’s “not on the whip team” and can’t definitively say there are enough votes for it to pass.

Both Upton and Long dealt a setback to the healthcare measure earlier this week, when they came out against it because they said it failed to protect people with pre-existing conditions.

The new amendment from Upton would provide $8 billion over five years to help people with pre-existing conditions afford their premiums in states that are granted a waiver from ObamaCare’s protections.

The liberal Center for American Progress estimated on Tuesday that the high-risk pools are underfunded by much more: $200 billion over 10 years.

The GOP bill already includes $130 billion over 10 years, which was not swaying many moderates as of Tuesday.

If the House votes on the bill this week, there would not be time for a new Congressional Budget Office analysis of Upton’s changes or of an amendment from Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) that won over the House Freedom Caucus. In a key development for Republican leaders, the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus has indicated it will continue to back the bill with the Upton amendment as long as it contains only additional funds and no policy changes. That is a major shift.

Supporters of the MacArthur amendment argue high-risk pools could fill the gap and note that people with preexisting conditions would still be protected if they had no gaps in coverage. That is correct and the right way to approach this, but they are willing to settle for the Upton amendment. Even with the moderate’s preexisting condition requirements put in, many moderates will not go for Obamacare-redux. The consensus seems to be though that there are enough votes to push this through… something the President very much wants to see happen. Perhaps this time’s the charm… we’ll see. Right now, they are short one or two votes – it’s very, very close.

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Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Terresa Monroe-Hamilton is an editor and writer for Right Wing News. She owns and blogs at She is a Constitutional Conservative and NoisyRoom focuses on political and national issues of interest to the American public. Terresa is the editor at Trevor Loudon's site, New Zeal - She also does research at You can email Terresa here. NoisyRoom can be found on Facebook and on Twitter.

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