Conservatives back revised health bill, GOP moderates balk

While there are indications that the revisions appeal to conservatives, some of them were still balking and there was little evidence that it was winning backing from moderates, leaving the measure's fate uncertain. The amendment, by the way, is a doozy; according to Vox, MacArthur's amendment would allow states to opt out of key provisions in the Affordable Care Act such as the ban on denying insurance to people with pre-existing conditions or the mandate to cover preventive services and maternity care without cost-sharing. The AARP has promised to inform all its 38 million members how lawmakers voted on the GOP health care bill.

"Those are the kind of concerns that obviously make me have to think long and hard about it", said moderate Rep. Ryan Costello (R-Pa.) on Wednesday, referring to the pre-existing condition changes.

MacArthur, the author of the amendment and a co-chair of the Tuesday Group, admitted to reporters Thursday that the Republican conference does not now have enough votes.

Leaders of both parties cited budget progress Tuesday after Trump signaled he was abandoning his demand that the measure include money for his proposed border wall with Mexico, an idea strongly opposed by Democrats and many Republicans.

The proposed changes would let states get federal waivers to some coverage requirements President Barack Obama's law imposed on insurers.

Members of the group had predicted their counterparts would rally behind the proposal, particularly after it was endorsed by two leading conservative advocacy groups.

Members of the House GOP conference that originally said they would vote "yes" have now expressed doubts over the amendment.

Dent said that no whip count had been conducted in the Tuesday Group meeting, but it was his sense that the moderates who were "no's" before remained no.

Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA), who came out against the original bill before it was pulled from the floor, said that she did not have "adequate" information yet to say whether the amendment would change her vote.

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"While the revised version still does not fully repeal Obamacare, we are prepared to support it to keep our promise to the American people to lower healthcare costs", the House Freedom Caucus said in a statement posted on the website of its chairman, Republican Representative Mark Meadows.

The language was crafted jointly in recent days by Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., the co-chairman of the moderate Tuesday Group, and Meadows, who heads the Freedom Caucus, with White House officials involved in those conversations, the people said.

Leaders of the conservative House Freedom Caucus met Tuesday to consider the suggested changes.

Several caucus members, including Meadows, confirmed Wednesday they reached the 80 percent threshold needed to adopt an official position but otherwise declined to characterize the number of new "yes" and remaining "no" votes among the conservatives.

MacArthur ran away from reporters and refused to answer questions about his amendment Wednesday afternoon.

"We're evaluating this amendment and we're looking to debate this as a caucus before we make a final decision", Meadows said.

"I have introduced an amendment as an independent member of Congress". John McCain, R-Ariz., said that failing to do so is the GOP's fault.

If that were repealed, insurers would be allowed to charge people with pre-existing conditions much higher premiums due to their illnesses, putting coverage out of reach for many. Taking Congress's record so far on this issue, though, I wouldn't bet on them succeeding in the near term.