Republican members of the conservative Freedom Caucus have initiated a push to hold a vote in the House on repealing the Affordable Care Act without a replacement.
If passed, the repeal bill would abolish the ACA, also known as Obamacare, in January 2019, meaning Congress would have time to come up with a replacement, The Associated Press reported.
But the renewed effort seems unlikely to achieve much, as several moderate Republicans are reluctant to hold another vote on health care after the House passed a repeal and replace bill in May. The caucus would need to get 218 signatures for the bill to be put to a vote, which would require the support of most moderate Republicans.
Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, a former chair of the Freedom Caucus, rejected any suggestion that the move was a ploy to appeal to the conservatives' core voters by portraying moderate GOP lawmakers as unwilling to get rid of Obamacare.
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"It's not about calling out anyone, it's about doing what we said," Jordan told AP. "And I do think people deserve to see if their member of Congress is going to do what they campaigned on."
It appears unlikely that Republican House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin will back the initiative.
"The House has already passed a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare," his spokeswoman, AshLee Strong, said when asked about the Freedom Caucus initiative.
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Comments by two Trump administration officials suggest that some Republicans may be warming to the idea of working with the Democrats to make changes to the ACA rather than continuing to push for its repeal.
"Both folks in the House and the Senate, on both sides of the aisle frankly, have said that Obamacare doesn't work, and it needs to be either repealed or fixed," Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said Aug. 9, according to the Los Angeles Times. "So the onus is on Congress."
Asked if that meant the Trump administration was willing to make fixes to Obamacare, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not rule it out.
"We are always looking for best ways to improve and fix the broken Obamacare system," she said.
Despite this, President Donald Trump has continued to urge Senate Republicans to seek to repeal the health care law. The president criticized Republican Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky after he said Trump had held "excessive expectations" about what lawmakers could accomplish.
"Senator Mitch McConnell said I had 'excessive expectations,' but I don't think so," Trump responded on Twitter. "After 7 years of hearing Repeal & Replace, why not done?"