President Trump gave an ultimatum to House conservatives on Thursday night, telling them vote for the American Health Care Act (AHCA)-or he will leave the ACA in place.
The House had been set to vote Thursday on ACHA, but the vote was delayed after Trump and leadership couldn’t get the votes needed.
After a long Rule Committee hearing on Thursday night, they will likely set up a vote on the rule for Friday morning and a vote on the measure later that afternoon.
With several concessions, like the repeal of the essential health benefits, which includes maternity care, pediatric services, hospitalization and prescription drugs, The Trump camp and House leadership are still unsure if they can get the votes they need for passage. An amendment will be released Thursday night that would repeal the essential health benefits and add $15 billion to the AHCA's Patient and State Stability Fund. The $15 billion will go toward mental health and maternity coverage, which will be paid for by keeping ObamaCare's 0.9 percent Medicare tax on high earners for six years.
But, is that enough to get the Freedom Caucus, 40 member coalition to vote in favor or the AHCA? Failure of the bill on the House floor would be a humiliation for GOP leaders. Trump himself has said for months that the safest course for the Republicans, politically, would be to do nothing and let ObamaCare collapse on itself. But is it the right thing to do?
With a newly released CBO score that found that if a newer version of the GOP-crafted AHCA was implemented it would reduce the deficit by $150 billion over a decade – 55 percent less savings compared to the bill's previous draft, which estimated a $337 billion reduction. The uninsured rates would be the same as previously projected, with 24 million fewer people having private or public coverage in 2026 than they do today, premiums would rise initially but then be projected by 2026 to be 10 percent less than they are today.
The GOP can only hope that the late-night talks encourage House members to pass the legislation and send it to the Senate.
Friday could be a spectacular day to watch C-SPAN as we watch the vote unfold.
Even if there is success in the House, will there be enough votes in the Senate? If not, then what?