Week ahead: House heads for Thursday vote on ObamaCare repeal

Week ahead: House heads for Thursday vote on ObamaCare repeal
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

The House will vote on the GOP's ObamaCare repeal and replace plan Thursday after nearly seven years of trying to take down the healthcare law. 

But it hasn't come easy - conservatives and moderate Republicans have both rallied against the House GOP health plan from its inception, pushing for changes from leadership and the White House. 

Leadership finally began to see some movement Friday when members of the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC) said they would support the bill, after President Trump ensured two significant changes would be added. 

Those changes would allow states the options of imposing Medicaid work requirements and receiving Medicaid funding through block grants.

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RSC Chairman Mark Walker said Friday the group had not taken a formal vote on whether to support the bill, but 16 steering committee members at the meeting with Trump committed to voting for it when it comes to the floor next Thursday.

But not all conservatives are on board. While the changes were embraced by the RSC, it still wasn't enough to bring the conservative House Freedom Caucus on board.  

A Freedom Caucus source on Friday afternoon said the conservative group "remains opposed" to the bill in its current form.

"Today's announcement of the RSC's support for the bill doesn't change that," the source said. "If the bill were brought to the floor today, it would fail to get enough votes."

Leadership can only lose 21 Republican votes and still pass the bill.

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said Friday there are at least 40 House Republicans who are opposed to the legislation, plus another 20 to 30 who are undecided.

Asked if the measure has the requisite 216 votes, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) declined to say yes on Friday.

But Scalise added: "These changes definitely strengthen our number."

The Freedom Caucus wants much more conservative changes to the GOP health plan that would repeal all of ObamaCare's provisions and insurer mandates, like one that requires insurers to cover people with preexisting conditions.

Meadows took issue with the Medicaid work requirements being optional, saying that provision only moves the ball "a couple of yards" down a very large field.

He has also said his caucus plans on proposing an amendment to leadership soon. 

But the bill still faces a tough path.

Moderates have said they won't vote for the bill after an analysis from the Congressional Budget Office showed millions could lose health insurance under the plan. 

Leadership, though, has a strong backer in the president.

On Friday, Trump said he was "100 percent" committed to the bill after his meeting with conservative lawmakers.

"I want people to know ObamaCare is dead; it's a dead healthcare plan," Trump said from the Oval Office.