House GOP says it is ‘super close’ on health bill

Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Upper Arlington, said Republicans still have a lot of work to do before assuring they have enough votes to pass the Obamacare repeal bill in the House. ‘We’re super close,’ Stivers said.

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Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Upper Arlington, said Republicans still have a lot of work to do before assuring they have enough votes to pass the Obamacare repeal bill in the House. ‘We’re super close,’ Stivers said.

Vote still could be weeks away, Rep. Steve Stivers says.

As the White House pushed the House to approve a major revision in the 2010 health law known as Obamacare, signs emerged Tuesday that GOP leaders are having difficulty assembling the 216 votes needed to pass the measure and send it to the U.S. Senate.

Although an aide to Rep. Pat Tiberi, the Genoa Twp. Republican will vote for the bill, Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton , remains undecided, said Adam Howard, his chief of staff. “We’re waiting to see what negotiations produce,” Howard said. “There’s no bill yet.”

CNN has reported that Turner and 21 other House Republicans are expected to oppose the bill, meaning House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., can only lose one or two more GOP lawmakers for the bill to pass the House. Most or all Democrats are expected to vote against the repeal.

“I’ve said for a while that we are weeks away,” said Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Upper Arlington, who is helping to count votes for GOP leaders. “I still feel like it will not happen this week. There’s a lot of work to be done. We’ve got to come together and get to a consensus.”

“We’re close, we’re super close,” Stivers said.

House conservatives such as Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, helped scuttle a bill in March backed by President Donald Trump and Ryan that would have scrapped much of Obamacare and replaced it with a more market-oriented approach.

Jordan and his allies claimed the original bill retained many of the mandates of Obamacare, such as a requirement that private insurance companies could not charge higher premiums to people with pre-existing health conditions. Jordan argues the requirement raises the costs of insurance.

In an effort to win the backing of conservatives, Ryan and GOP leaders revised the bill to allow states to opt out of Obamacare’s requirements on pre-existing conditions as well as a mandate that private insurance companies offer individual policies with a broad range of medical benefits.

But while Jordan has said he will support the revised bill, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, told reporters Tuesday, “I just don’t know if it will get through the House,” adding that he believes “pre-existing conditions should be covered.”

Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Troy, said the revised bill “falls far short of what I expected it would accomplish,” describing himself as “not enthusiastically yes, but yes.”

As expected, Rep. Jim Renacci of Wadsworth, who is seeking next year’s Republican gubernatorial nomination, told CNN Tuesday he would vote for the bill. As a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Renacci earlier this year vote voted in favor of the original bill.

Obamacare extended health coverage to roughly 22 million Americans by offering middle income Americans federally subsidized individual private plans and expanding Medicaid, the joint federal and state program which pays health costs for low-income people.

The revised GOP bill would scale back part of the Medicaid expansion which allowed Gov. John Kasich to provide health coverage to more than 700,000 in Ohio.

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