In a blow, influential Republican a 'no' on health care bill

Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney speaks about the budget at the White House in Washington

Top House Republicans told their members to brace for a vote on Obamacare in the coming days, saying in a closed-door meeting that "Now is the time" for a vote as they seek to find the last elusive members to help them pass the legislation.

Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., who calls himself a moderate, said he is still not on board with the new GOP health care plan.

In a separate interview with Bloomberg News, Trump insisted that the new bill would maintain protections for pre-existing conditions.

In a blow for GOP leadership, a prominent Republican lawmaker who's worked for years to repeal Obamacare announced Tuesday that he could not support the replacement bill now under consideration in the House.

"Not sure they'll be there or ever be there", the source said of the votes in favor of the bill, adding that possible likely the House will "keep kicking the can" from one week to the next.

The House is slated to break for a week starting on Thursday, but may leave town even earlier because Republicans appeared unlikely to have enough support to pass the healthcare bill, a Democratic congressional aide said on Monday afternoon.

Numerous Republican moderates are opposing the GOP bill because they say it would treat people with pre-existing conditions unfairly.

"Can there be a fix?"

The issue even seeped into popular culture after late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel delivered an emotional 13-minute monologue Monday describing the recent birth of his son, who had heart disease that required immediate surgery that proved successful. Kimmel said before Obama's law took effect, many such infants could die because they'd be uninsured due to their pre-existing condition.

Kimmel's remarks inspired Obama to weigh in on Twitter. Trump also said the health care legislation is "changing". And then the last thing it does is it rolls back the expansion of Medicaid over time so that people who now got Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act may lose it over the next few years.

Rep. Fred Upton of MI, who until January had been chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, one of the main health care legislating committees in Congress, officially came out against the bill on Tuesday.

The advocates also said that the White House and House Republicans were operating in a fantasyland if they thought putting sick people into pricy high-risk pools would work. "They know it's time". Missouri Rep. Billy Long, an ardent Trump supporter, came out in opposition to the legislation because of the new amendment.

Meanwhile, media reports suggested the chaos that Trump and House Republicans were sowing in insurance markets would harm their base in the red states that elected them.

Speaking to reporters, Ryan said Republicans "were making very good progress" on their proposed legislation. It is not a good sign, however, that Republican leaders fear sending their members home on the brink of this vote. They say the reforms have choked US economic growth and having crimped lending to USA businesses.

The patient care organizations said deregulating coverage standards would lead to price gouging and the sickest people dropping coverage because they couldn't afford it. One new wrinkle: While insurers would still have to cover people with pre-existing conditions, they would now be able to charge them higher premiums.

But states can obtain federal waivers letting insurers raise premiums on people with pre-existing illnesses, though only if the customer has let their coverage lapse during the previous year.

The loss of a vote from Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., the former chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, could make it much more hard for Republicans to even dare to call a vote on their replacement bill, much less to get it passed this week.

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