House to hold vote on GOP health care bill Thursday

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(Via ABC News)
The House of Representatives will vote Thursday on the Republican-backed health care bill.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, told reporters Wednesday that he expects the vote on passage to occur between 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.

“We’re going to pass it!” McCarthy said. “Let’s be optimistic about life.”

Republican leaders and the White House spent the day Wednesday hunting for votes and are believed to be within striking distance of passing the measure.

The margin is expected to be razor-thin. According to McCarthy, the House Rules Committee will meet this evening to set the parameters of debate on the floor.

Opponents of the bill are already attacking Republicans for scheduling a vote before the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has analyzed the amended bill.

The CBO score would project the effects of the bill — the changes in the number of insured and premiums, and its impact on the federal deficit.

“Forcing a vote without a CBO score shows that Republicans are terrified of the public learning the full consequences of their plan to push Americans with pre-existing conditions into the cold,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said in a statement. “But tomorrow, House Republicans are going to tattoo this moral monstrosity to their foreheads, and the American people will hold them accountable.”

The CBO’s most recent analysis of the of the American Health Care Act projected that 24 million more people would be uninsured by 2026 — with 14 million more uninsured in the first year, compared to Obamacare.

Under budgetary rules, the Senate cannot take up the health care bill without receiving a CBO score, meaning the estimated impact of the measure will be known before the Senate considers it.

In addition to the American Health Care Act, the House will also consider H.R. 2192, companion legislation to make a technical fix preventing members of Congress and staff from exempting themselves from the AHCA.

Under the current bill, states could seek a waiver so insurance companies could treat people with pre-existing conditions differently from others, rating them separately and charging them much higher premiums.

It is unclear how many states would opt to do that. Before the ACA, the majority of states did not have protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Instead their sickest residents and most expensive ones to treat were often helped through state-run high-risk pools.

As a compromise to allay fears from lawmakers who are uneasy about gutting these protections, a few members today unveiled an amendment that would allocate $8 billion in additional funds to help states run these high-risk pools.

Critics of the effort said $8 billion would be just a drop in the bucket and would not cover the majority of people with pre-existing conditions, who would be at risk of seeing their premiums skyrocket under the Republican health care bill under consideration in the House of Representatives, according to several think tanks and health care experts.

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