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Obamacare repeal in jeopardy as Trump offers 11th-hour concessions

The Republican push to replace Obamacare – backed forcefully by President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan —is in jeopardy, as a last-ditch bid by the White House to win conservative support late Wednesday appeared to repel moderates.

Moderate Republicans huddled with Speaker Paul Ryan and House leaders for nearly two hours Wednesday night but emerged without consensus. Immediately after exiting the meeting, Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), leader of the House’s moderate Tuesday Group, panned the bill, known as the American Health Care Act.

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“After careful deliberation, I cannot support the bill and will oppose it,” Dent said in a statement upon leaving the meeting. “I believe this bill, in its current form, will lead to the loss of coverage and make insurance unaffordable for too many Americans, particularly for low-to-moderate income and older individuals.”

The growing rebellion of moderate members comes as House leaders spent the day attempting to placate their hardline conservative Freedom Caucus, a group of three-dozen arch-conservatives that had been threatening to tank the bill. To bring them on board, House leaders — at the behest of the White House — offered to gut minimum health insurance requirements imposed by Obamacare.

Though the move represented a win for conservatives, many Freedom Caucus members refused to commit their support for the bill. They want to cut even more Obamacare regulations, including its popular provision requiring insurers to offer coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

"No decisions reached. Continuing to negotiate. The Freedom Caucus continues to have serious concerns with current AHCA text," Freedom Caucus aide Alyssa Farah tweeted late Thursday night.

That posture left moderates furious about the lack of committed support, and some indicated the move had caused them to reconsider the bill.

“Obviously the Freedom Caucus has presented what it will take for them to get some yeses and I think there are now members who will have to now evaluate things a little bit further,” said Rep. Ryan Costello (R-Pa.) after exiting the meeting in Ryan's office.

In the marathon session, Ryan laid out the changes to the bill that the White House negotiated with the House Freedom Caucus. A source in the room said many attendees found the concessions to the right-wing caucus hard to swallow, especially because leadership told them Freedom Caucus members hadn’t yet promised to support the measure — even if they won the changes.

Moderates said they need to learn more about what the White House proposal would mean for their constituents and providers they represent. Many expressed worry that the leadership would force swing-district members to take a risky vote when the Senate would likely strip out the provision anyway because it may run afoul of the Senate's arcane rules.

And some moderates were especially aghast that leadership couldn’t tell them how many votes this proposal would win them from the House Freedom Caucus.

“Everybody’s frustrated,” said one lawmaker in the meeting. “Some moved; some stayed the same.”

When asked if by “moved” he


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J.B. Pritzker.

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‘IT’S ALL UP TO THE WHITE HOUSE NOW’ -- 'TRUMPCARE' already here -- ROGER STONE’s email defending himself -- DEMS weigh Gorsuch deal -- THE JUICE: LIZ ALLEN to GPG -- B'DAY: Ryan Grim

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Good Thursday morning.

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THE REALITY -- ‘IT’S ALL UP TO THE WHITE HOUSE NOW’ -- The health-care bill is really down to a coin flip. The mood in the Capitol yesterday was tense -- not because people were worried about failure, but because the situation was so fluid it was difficult to get a real read on what was transpiring. Even the smartest and savviest vote counters had no idea whether they will be able to pass this bill to replace the Affordable Care Act. As of publishing time this morning, House Republicans planned to bring this bill to the floor Thursday no matter what the whip count looked like. We wouldn’t be surprised if the vote came after the market closed. (NOTE: Big thanks to John Bresnahan and the best-in-class POLITICO Hill team for keeping us honest and abreast of all twists and turns.)

HERE’S THE DEAL . The conservative House Freedom Caucus -- which will meet with PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP this morning at 11:30 a.m. -- wants to not only eliminate coverage requirements for health insurers in the Obamacare bill (known as essential health benefits), but they also want to repeal the law’s Title One, which includes rules on coverage for pre-existing conditions and allowing children to remain on their parents’ plan up to age 26. As of early this morning, the leadership and White House were cool to that proposal.

-- HFC SPOKESMAN ALYSSA FARAH (@Alyssafarah) at 11:12 p.m.: “No decisions reached. Continuing to negotiate. The Freedom Caucus continues to have serious concerns with current AHCA text.” Rep. Mark Meadows' statement

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THE NUMBERS . The dramatic changes to this bill throw the whip count in serious flux. House Republican leaders have now lost the support of moderates like Reps. Chris Smith and Frank LoBiando of New Jersey, Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania and David Young of Iowa. Watch for other moderate Republicans who see this as an opportunity to ditch the bill without major political consequence. There are 237 House Republicans and 215 need to vote yes to pass this bill. They can lose 22 lawmakers.

THE HYPOCRISY . Republicans are doing exactly what they accused Democrats of doing in 2010. They are rewriting this bill behind closed doors in the dead of night. They are using the powerful Rules Committee to give themselves remarkable authority to bring up and vote on any bill in the same day -- known, quite ominously, as “martial law.”


-- THE FREEDOM CAUCUS . To call this a critical moment for the House Freedom Caucus -- the clutch of conservative members in the House -- would be like calling Michael Jordan a weekend men’s league warrior. If the Freedom Caucus succeeds in getting the changes it wants and doesn’t put up the votes for the bill, their future negotiating stance will

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