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Thursday, March 23, 2017

House Republicans Search for Votes to Repeal Obamacare - The New York Times

"WASHINGTON — Hardline conservatives in the House will meet Thursday morning with President Trump to hammer out changes to the House bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, pressing to eliminate federal requirements that health insurance plans provide a basic set of benefits like maternity care, emergency services and wellness visits.



House Republican leaders called off a meeting with all members of their party early Thursday at the Capitol, placing their faith in a House Freedom Caucus negotiating session at the White House with President Trump. If the president and the conservatives can reach an agreement, a vote on the House floor, still scheduled for Thursday, can move forward.



The emerging power of a group that has been historically marginalized in policy-making but a thorn in the side of leadership is one of the surprises of the rushed health care debate. The Freedom Caucus has been empowered by the addition of one of their own, former Representative Mick Mulvaney, to the senior White House staff as budget director, and Mr. Trump’s disengagement from policy details coupled with his intense desire to score a win after a rocky start to his presidency.



Mr. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and the House speaker, Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, worked to placate conservative House Republicans who said that the bill did not do enough to lower health insurance costs by reducing federal regulations. The legislation would roll back major provisions of the Affordable Care Act, a pillar of President Barack Obama’s legacy.



But in trying to satisfy conservatives, the Trump administration and House Republican leaders risked jeopardizing support for the bill among more moderate Republicans. Mr. Obama stepped into the fray on Thursday with a lengthy defense of his signature domestic achievement — and a call for bipartisan improvements.



“I’ve always said we should build on this law, just as Americans of both parties worked to improve Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid over the years,” he wrote on the seventh anniversary of signing the measure into law. “So if Republicans are serious about lowering costs while expanding coverage to those who need it, and if they’re prepared to work with Democrats and objective evaluators in finding solutions that accomplish those goals – that’s something we all should welcome. But we should start from the baseline that any changes will make our health care system better, not worse for hardworking Americans.”



As the crucial vote approached, party leaders appeared to be short of a majority."



House Republicans Search for Votes to Repeal Obamacare - The New York Times

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