House leaders and White House negotiators are unable to break the impasse created by conservatives, who say the bill does not sufficiently unravel Obamacare, and moderates who worry about lack of coverage for constituents.
The Associated Press is reporting that House Republican leaders will delay today’s scheduled vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA), with House Speaker Paul Ryan and White House negotiators unable to get enough votes for the bill.
Leaders have been trying for days to get the needed votes for the bill to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to clear the House. But they were apparently unable to crack the logjam created by conservatives who feel the current version of the AHCA does not go far enough to remove the ACA’s regulations and moderates who fear too many of their constituents will lose their coverage.
Earlier this afternoon, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer insisted, “It’s going to pass. So that’s it,” when asked about the AHCA’s prospects.
But late efforts to strip out the essential health benefits, a core provision of the ACA that require mental health coverage and have shifted the focus toward preventive care, were not enough to convince conservatives in the Freedom Caucus to get on board.
Also, the Congressional Budget Office today released an updated score of the revised AHCA. While the number of people projected to lose coverage through 2026 remained unchanged at 24 million, the deficit reduction estimate was cut in half, from $337 billion to $150 billion over 10 years.
(See earlier coverage on the role of essential health benefits in negotiations.)