House vote on Obamacare replacement delayed as Trump struggles to find bill support

Harriet Sinclair
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A House vote on the proposed replacement for Obamacare is expected to take place on Friday (23 March) after being delayed by a day.

The vote on the bill was pushed back after it proved difficult for President Donald Trump to garner support for the changes it proposed – prompting a delay and some last-minute alterations.

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However, the White House suggested the vote had been pushed back due to timing issues.

Trump spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, in a statement seen by The Hill: "The vote will be in the morning.

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"We feel this should be done in the light of day, not in the wee hours of the night and we are confident the bill will pass in the morning."

However, there were fears from within Trump's camp that the bill's passage through the House would have been hindered by the House Freedom Caucus, with 25 members of the group suggesting they would not vote for the bill as it originally stood.

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'Opposition is still strong'

Some members of the caucus believe the replacement for the Affordable Care Act should drop the minimum requirements for healthcare provision – something they believe would bring premiums down.

Caucus chairman Mark Meadows told The Hill, prior to the bill's postponement: "The opposition is still strong.

"They don't have the votes to pass this tomorrow. We believe that they need to start over and do a bill that actually reduces premiums."

Asked about the bill again following the postponement, Meadows told the Associated Press he would work with Trump to find a solution.

Indeed, a number of alterations to the bill have been proposed, including cutting deficit reduction in order to increase provisions for disabled and elderly people – although nothing is set in stone.

"We're committing to stay as long as it takes to get this done because the president has promised this to the people, we've promised it to the American people," Meadows told AP.

"So whether the vote is tonight, tomorrow or five days from here, the president will get a victory because I believe we all want to negotiate in good faith and deliver on the promise for the president."

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