How many votes the GOP can afford to lose on health care bill

ABC News' MaryAlice Parks and Ali Rogin take us through how many votes Republicans can afford to lose for their health care bill to pass.
13:18 | 03/24/17

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Transcript for How many votes the GOP can afford to lose on health care bill
Hey everybody I'm on in the vase life in New York while you may have heard. Republicans pledged to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act also known as Obama care. Faced a major test today there's a vote scheduled for tonight we're gonna bring you the latest on not the question of course. Is do they have the votes for their own plan. The past let's break it down let's bring in our colleague down in Washington DC on Capitol Hill Mary Alice parks an Alley Rogen who have been sifting through. All the details of what's been happening today and not happening so far guys let's just go by a go through this point by point now what. Do they need in terms of votes and what do they hacked. Right well so in the house. Republicans and only. When he Q house Republicans they have 237. And signaling leads to 22 in order to meet that critical threshold. Up 215. Votes that's how many they need to pass it assuming it passes on party line without any Democrats at all. Now just for the viewers and we have also heard a different number to sixteen. That has to do with one democratic member who may not make it back in time for the boat tonight he's in Chicago. So right now for our purposes we are not counting him as part of this which is why the numbers that we're talking about our. Up to 22 balloonists to fifteen to pack now. Are they gonna get there right now it looks like the answer is no if you were to hold this vote in the next five minutes. Up her ABC's whip count where up to about 32 U house Republicans and that includes a wide ideological spectrum from conservatives and moderates. And so the next in the jockeying that's not a supposed to happen later tonight. The horse trading is. Going to continue. And I just aren't there that's me you said there on at the start there's not technically a vote even schedule the plan all along this week was meant to vote this evening. Though in the day started still no. Definite timeframe and they made a point of recess think. We are waiting for a final announced it would attack a little bit of more about this Paul Ryan is expected to do a press conference later today will probably get a final answer about when. If they will hold a vote but we didn't have a definite schedule yet. So. What is the hole that herb heard a lot about the freedom pockets about moderates where exactly hold up when it comes to the Republican Party and that's. You know I need a good point that the people letter really on the fence at this bill or source downgrade saying they're not voted for come a wide range. On the political spectrum with in the Republican conference you have. Moderates who say there's just not enough in this bill. To bring down premiums they're worried about out of pocket costs for seniors and lower income Americans but you also have conservative members of the caucus of the conference. Who say that this is just not enough for the full repeal. They are some true free market conservatives who want all the regulations that were put in place under obamacare to be not. And those include some things that were really popular and that mainstream Republicans were not ready to totally scrapped with its original bill so we can break down some of that even further we know. That conservative Republicans were asking for these essential health care benefits. I'm they're really specific provisions that were written into the original Affordable Care Act. They want those. How they want that in the in the bill written out that they will not be included going follower and I think it's important rested sort of walk through with that would mean for consumers. I think we have it back actually at what exactly it is an essential health care benefits are they include things like maternity care and hospitalization. Mental health. The list goes on it there's to hang. And what's important are about these. If they were the democrats' way of saying that every single one of the insurance plans that were sold on those individual market places. So if you were buying your own insurance he didn't get it from your employer. It was a guarantee. That the insurance plans had to cover. Geese and things. There's obviously a lot of controversy around some Republicans say that that's there. They say that here at young healthy male why do you need maternity care. Watch Sean Spicer the White House briefing he was not a lot of he was saying that. It was important to introduce march waste into the market their economic argument is that the more choice to block out. It it can bring down costs the flip side. That that Democrats need Republicans argue is that insurance markets just worked a little bit differently. That insurance markets work by more people buying into the marketplace more people buying plants. Even so young healthy males behind a plan that includes maternity care. And on that together brings the market down so reading a lot of I want you details here at the insurance market that help it benefit but apparently they're talking about right now is whether arguing about rate now. And at some of the stuff that we know that they aren't there behind closed doors arguing and negotiating at least eight. And I'm if I'd just make one more point about the political reality here OK so this is what house Republicans are talking about right now this is something that is very important. Two house conservative Republicans they say unless you take out those. Essential health benefits from this house bill we can't get behind it and it back a lot of them are asking work infections as well. But take on its side let's assume this bill in some board passes the house strip saying the bill those essential health benefits. That does to the senate and there's a whole different set of rules there it's extremely want you we're gonna try to keep it on level one. As we explain this to our viewers but. Basically. Senate. Only. Parsons. Legislation. That deal with the budget in some ways have to have some eat back on the national deficit. And on the budget. All elements of a bill that. Have though the facts are alone now as part of the senate bill and that's because. This is happening under these rules of reconciliation. You may have heard this rule a lot. Those are different rules that only pertained to build that have to do with the budget. And the only require a simple 51 vote majority this is why this is so important because Republicans had eight slam. Majority they don't have a lot of votes to spare so there trying to get the first part of its obamacare repeal and replace dine. Under reconciliation and again at that 51 vote metric. Now why does the how to be essential health care benefits kick in here it does because republic Democrats are going argue and a lot of people say they have a ballot case. That they have these mental health benefits is not. Something it at nothing to do with the budget. And therefore it's not going to be admissible under the rules of reconciliation and that 51 vote January so again. This could half of the house will be essential benefits stripped of it. It's run into a brick wall potentially on the senate side they're gonna say this is not pertinent. To you. Budgetary. Things were trying to accomplish here try again next time but it's not going to apply. And again it's called the Byrd rule once this gets over to the Sonny you're going to be hearing a lot about that Byrd rule. Other guests that we know this these essential health care benefits aren't sticking point right now right especially for the freedom caucus filth and other than a lot of closed door meetings right. The freedom caucus has been meeting at the White House earlier today. When a speaker Ryan the meeting with some of the more moderate Republicans so what exactly is happening there are their actual you know granular level negotiation going on there or is there a bigger discussion at like. Hey guys we need to get this done we've been talking about this sports betting years neck. And I I think it's bell. Adding that on the staff level there some really great discussions going on but there's also a lot martyr macro level discussion going on there's been a lot of pressure ands arm twisting. Happening on Capitol Hill and of the White House as she sat. Not only moderate but markets are remembers going back and forth back and forth their running across Pennsylvania Avenue today they're meeting at the White House they're beating back here with speaker Ryan. And they're hearing it from both sides at that they might not of this bill that they have to vote or they're under time pressure. And and but speaker might as time went on the policy level. It is reality it if he makes some of these concessions to more conservative members he might start hemorrhaging handing him bridging. We're at right now and that he's a little thing he who live thing moderates in the same moment. So there's a lot of letters being pulled right here they're trying to do whip count they're trying to see Indy is changed they greeted that they'd bring this person on the they lose this person over here. All of that sort of tabulating going on. And I I have to say I I likened it earlier add to the seesaw it's like as you add more people on this side. There are fewer people who come along with the bill on this site so it's this balancing act it's so difficult. IA and you know a lot of Democrats have been pointing out that they've had seven years of opposition. And they're coming onto the wire on actually trying to get this thing passed and figure out what it looks like on the sick that they're obviously trying to balance. All the interest than their own party and I'm sure there trying to balance also what their constituents have been saying. And the support that they know the Affordable Care Act Patrick doesn't have back home there's a new poll out to. They want to get guys to weigh in on this I think we've got a graphic on that this kind of striking stopper where we are. And where this billet power Republicans we'll approach it it's a Quinnipiac University national Paul. Out today. They looked at voters and asked them basically how they feel about the new Republican plant take a look at this. 56. Per cent of voters. Did approve. Of the Republican health care plan that is not a good number at you hate you look at it support among Republicans you guys. It's just 41%. That's not a rate. Way are not great contacts for them to be trying to push this through right. Yet we've we talk about pulling around health care. For the last seven years there's always been this question at a Powell that question itself is raised you ask people they like obamacare they're pretty quick to say now. You ask them if they like. The fact that people a preexisting conditions can still be covered. If they like the fact that young people under 26 to stay on their parents plank you start to break down some of the key. Parts of obamacare. And suddenly the approval numbers really change that's the trend of the last few years. And Republicans know that if specially speaker rank he understands their parts of that laugh. That are really popular that are really important people. And and that's what you're seeing right there and that pulling that is people are starting to pay attention really dig through this spell. And they're starting to see the fact that bills not even sent installing still being negotiated that's creating a lot of uncertainty for folks. But here's the other thing I want to get you guys tend to weigh in on here because when they can they looked at how people. Our are accessing this bill you know and especially looking ahead to 2018. The voters who were pulled in this that there if their senator or or their representative voted for it 46% of the voters said that they would be less likely. To vote for that person in the future I mean that they're just waiting a number of considerations when they look at how to vote on this right. Yeah absolutely and I think one thing that's important to recognize here that. It's different process of putting together an extremely nasty. And so I think a lot of the political reaction you're seeing a lot of these polling numbers are coming out showing these incredibly negative numbers. Are as Mary Alice and very much driven by some of the particulars as people are reading in finding out how it would affect them. In particular I think it's also implicitly kind of a reaction Q. Messy political way that the sausage is me and this is a reaction. You some of the ugliness possibly in the confusion that they've been seeing I mean. These hard things to get across you have speaker Ryan going on TV and talking about reconciliation. And all of these parliamentary. The very difficult to explain to you television audience and even in a newspaper audience. So I think that fact think you're seeing these numbers the way they are it's not just because of the policy specifics. It's about the sausage making process and people just don't like that mean a lot of people who. Ended up really liking some of the elements of obamacare probably would have been in the negative IA field if you ask them this time. Seven years ago that's one portion of this as he mention certainly this is an issue that. Voters are going to be looking at as they make their decisions about their representatives we've been seeing in these town halls all over the country. People. Having very negative reactions to. The idea that they could lose some of the benefits that they understand they're getting through obamacare so. In the eighth as you said it's an incredibly difficult issue these poll numbers. I would say. A they're not looking good but again I think it's as much a reaction to the political. I say intrigue that's going on here advocates of the politics and Althea.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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