Republicans Are Gaining Some Momentum for Their Obamacare Replacement

President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office concluded last week. In that time, his administration couldn't manage to repeal and replace Obamacare. The end of this week could pose an opportunity for Trump to pass a new health care act—now that House Republicans plan to approve at least $8 billion in extra spending.

This spending money is linked with an amendment proposed by Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan, The New York Times reports. Upton, among other moderate House Republicans, hesitated to support the new health care bill originally because it lacks protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions. Upton, an influential centrist Republican, has served in the House for 30 years and is known for negotiating with Democrats on tough issues like health care in the past. Winning his support could clear the path to success for Trump’s troubled health care bill.

“I cannot support this bill with this provision in it,” Upton said to WHTC, a local radio show.

This “unsupportable” provision, proposed by Rep. Tom MacArthur, would allow state governments to apply for waivers to evade providing certain essential health benefits to Americans. These include maternity care, mental health treatment and emergency care. The waiver would also allow states to ignore the current law mandating equal insurance rates for people of the same age, regardless of pre-existing medical conditions.

Many people with pre-existing conditions fear that they may lose coverage and “are going to die because of a vote we might be taking,” Rep. Tom Rooney of Florida told the Times.

According to ABC News, Upton’s amendment would provide $8 billion over five years to offset high insurance premiums for people with serious pre-existing medical conditions. However, many experts say that the extra money won't be nearly enough to provide the coverage needed. 

This issue went viral after Jimmy Kimmel delivered an emotional monologue about his newborn son’s heart troubles. His son, Billy, was born with a heart defect and needed open-heart surgery. "No parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life… it just shouldn’t happen," he said.

"You know, before 2014 if you were born with congenital heart disease like my son was, there was a good chance you'd never be able to get health insurance because you had a pre-existing condition,” Kimmel continued. “Don't let their partisan squabbles divide us on something every decent person wants. We need to take care of each other.”

The video had more than 7.3 million views on YouTube by Wednesday morning. Even Barack Obama tweeted out his support.

“Well said, Jimmy. That’s exactly why we fought so hard for the ACA, and why we need to protect it for kids like Billy.”

The House is set to go on recess Thursday until May 16. There is no vote scheduled leading into the Representatives leaving Capitol—and they can be sure to hear from a LOT of angry voters back home if serious changes to the new health care bill aren’t made.