House to vote on health care bill

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICA -

WASH­ING­TON — In a pos­si­ble break­through for US Repub­li­cans’ ef­fort to roll back Oba­macare, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives plans to hold a vote Thurs­day on com­pro­mise leg­is­la­tion, po­ten­tially end­ing a log­jam that has de­layed ad­vanc­ing US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s cam­paign prom­ise to re­peal the law.

The de­ci­sion to hold a vote comes af­ter key mod­er­ate law­mak­ers met with Trump on Wed­nes­day and said a re­vised bill might win ap­proval as con­ser­va­tives voiced no ob­jec­tions.

House Ma­jor­ity Leader Kevin McCarthy said Repub­li­can leadership is con­fi­dent there is enough sup­port for the bill to pass.

Keen to score his first ma­jor leg­isla­tive win since tak­ing of­fice in Jan­uary, Trump has been per­son­ally en­gaged in build­ing sup­port among fel­low Repub­li­cans in the House for an ef­fort that has al­ready twice col­lapsed.

Aides said Trump has been fu­ri­ously work­ing the phones, try­ing to make good on a key prom­ise to vot­ers: over­haul­ing for­mer pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s sig­na­ture do­mes­tic leg­is­la­tion. The ef­fort is show­ing Trump how hard it is to man­age fac­tions among the Repub­li­cans, who con­trol both cham­bers of Congress.

The House bill has been changed sev­eral times as Repub­li­cans have tried to bal­ance de­mands by con­ser­va­tives for a max­i­mum Oba­macare roll­back with mod­er­ates’ wor­ries about an­ger­ing vot­ers who like parts of the law, for­mally known as the Af­ford­able Care Act and en­acted in 2010.

One pop­u­lar fea­ture of the law lets young peo­ple stay on their par­ents’ plans un­til age 26; an­other pro­tects peo­ple with pre-ex­ist­ing health con­di­tions, a pro­vi­sion de­fended by late-night talk show host Jimmy Kim­mel, who tear­fully re­vealed on Mon­day his new­born son had a con­gen­i­tal heart con­di­tion.

Kim­mel’s mono­logue has been viewed nearly 19 mil­lion times on his show’s Face­book page, and on Wed­nes­day morn­ing was the No. 1 trending story on YouTube.

Trump met at the White House with two key House Repub­li­can mod­er­ates, Michi­gan’s Fred Up­ton and Mis­souri’s Billy Long. Speak­ing to re­porters af­ter­wards, they said Trump has en­dorsed their plan to add $8 bil­lion over five years to help cover the cost for peo­ple with pre­ex­ist­ing ill­nesses who could oth­er­wise be priced out of in­sur­ance mar­kets.

Up­ton said it seemed likely the bill would pass the House, although Long said Repub­li­cans still seemed short of votes.

Long said he had op­posed the leg­is­la­tion un­til the pre­ex­ist­ing con­di­tions cover­age was added. He said he had re­sisted Trump’s arm-twist­ing, but that he now sup­ported the bill. “The pres­i­dent said, ‘Billy we re­ally need you, man,’” Long said.

Con­ser­va­tives who have stymied roll­back ef­forts be­fore said they sup­port the mod­er­ates’ lat­est plan, in­clud­ing the pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions pro­vi­sion.

An ini­tial roll­back at­tempt failed in the House and was with­drawn by Repub­li­can lead­ers in March.

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