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House leaders think they have votes for ObamaCare replacement bill

May 3, 2017

House GOP leaders may call a vote on their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare as early as Thursday.

Reporters were told that President Donald Trump’s agreement to provide an additional $8 billion to some states to reduce costs for covering individuals with pre-existing conditions could be the final change needed to secure enough GOP votes to move the bill through the House.

A vote on the legislation could come either Thursday or Friday but House leaders were hoping to schedule it Thursday.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma arrived at the Capitol late Wednesday afternoon to meet in Vice President Mike Pence’s office.

 

Earlier Wednesday, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Rep. Billy Long, R-Missouri, dropped their opposition and agreed to vote for the bill after winning Trump’s backing for their amendment providing for an additional $8 billion over five years to help states that have waivers allow insurers impose higher premiums on individuals with pre-existing conditions. Under Obamacare charging those individuals more is forbidden.

The support of Upton and Long is critical because Republicans can only lose 22 votes and still pass the repeal bill. Capitol Hill publication CQ Roll Call reported that a dozen GOP House members polled this week said they are undecided. House Speaker Paul Ryan has said he won’t bring the bill to the floor until he’s sure it will have  enough GOP votes to pass.

Should the legislation be enacted, the biggest beneficiaries among public companies are likely to be the largest health insurers, including Anthem (ANTM) , UnitedHealth (UNH) , Cigna (CI) and Humana (HUM) .

Hospital stocks such as Tenet Healthcare (THC) , Community Health (CYH) , HCA (HCA) and LifePoint Hospitals (LPNT) are likely to suffer from cuts to healthcare providers’ revenue.

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