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These Two Votes Signal Obamacare Repeal Might Actually Happen

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

The chances of the House Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill passing are looking up for GOP leadership as two critical no votes flipped to yeses following a meeting at the White House Wednesday.

Tuesday Group Co-Chairman Tom MacArthur and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows brokered an amendment allowing states to waive out of a number of the Affordable Care Act’s Title I regulations, which swayed the majority of HFC members. However, the chances of passing the measure appeared to be on the rocks as multiple high-profile lawmakers said they remained unsold over concerns the changes would lead to higher costs for people with preexisting conditions.

Now the chances of passing the measure before the House recesses Thursday appear to be growing stronger. Tea Party Rep. Billy Long of Missouri and Republican moderate Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan changed their tune after the administration promised additional changes to the bill, Politico first reported. Long and Upton were allegedly promised the addition of an amendment providing $8 billion to help cover people with pre-existing conditions — their largest remaining concern.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday he has not ruled out keeping members through the weekend if it looks like they can finish their work and pass the measure.

Wednesday’s meeting also included House Committee on Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden and Republican Rep. Michael Burgess of Texas. Both have helped lead the efforts on health care reform.

The first attempt at a health care bill in March was a massive political blunder, with leadership having to pull the bill to a lack of consensus among Republicans. The White House renewed its efforts to work to help members negotiate a compromise that all factions of the conference feel comfortable supporting.

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