Uncommitted Republicans put Obamacare overhaul in jeopardy

At least 22 Republicans in the U.S. House oppose or remain undecided.

March 21, 2017, 8:46 PM

— -- At least 22 Republicans in the U.S. House oppose or remain undecided on the American Health Care Act, enough to jeopardize the fate of the sweeping bill when it is slated to come for a vote on Thursday evening, according to an ABC News count.

House GOP leaders need 216 votes to pass the bill, which allows for 21 Republican "no" votes, assuming every Democratic member in the chamber also votes "no." Still, the count remains fluid as the lobbying efforts on both sides continue.

Several conservative members of the Republican caucus say the bill, aimed at repealing and replacing Obamacare, doesn't go far enough. GOP leaders made tweaks to the bill today in order to try to bring those members on board.

"No" votes from the 22 Republicans would kill the bill in the House. Regardless, the fate of the bill in the Senate, where only three Republican defections would kill the bill, is uncertain.

The White House says President Trump is enthusiastic about the bill and is all-in in the efforts to get it passed. He has been personally and intensively engaged over the past few weeks, warning Republican lawmakers today in a meeting not to be "fools" and kill the legislation, according to some attendees.

"We had a great meeting and I think we’re going to get a winner vote," Trump told reporters after leaving the meeting. "It was a great meeting, we have terrific people and they want a tremendous healthcare plan -- and that’s what we have. And there are going to be adjustments, but I think we’ll get the vote on Thursday."

Over the next 48 hours, Trump is expected to keep working the phones and meeting face-to-face with lawmakers at the White House. Tomorrow he will host another gathering of members to pitch the bill, following his meeting with the GOP conference today.

There are 430 sitting members in the U.S. House. Five seats are currently vacant.

Nonpartisan Congressional budget officials say the bill will result in 24 million more uninsured people over the next 10 years. It will also save $337 billion from federal deficits in the same time span and lower premiums by 10 percent after a slight increase.

An updated report is expected on Tuesday.

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