Vulnerable Republican comes out against GOP health plan

Greg Nash

Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), a top Democratic target in next year’s midterm elections, is coming out against the GOP plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

Denham had not fully committed to a position before GOP leaders canceled a vote on the legislation last month. But he told a town hall meeting Monday night that he wouldn’t support the bill unless it kept provisions of ObamaCare like ensuring coverage for people with preexisting conditions and the Medicaid expansion.

“I’ve expressed to leadership that I’m a ‘no’ on the healthcare vote until it is responsive to my community,” Denham said during an animated town hall meeting, according to the Los Angeles Times.

{mosads}”There are things in the Affordable Care Act we expect to stay.”

Denham had previously expressed concerns last month about the legislation’s rollback of the Medicaid expansion and tax credits to help people pay for insurance.

Denham was reelected for a fourth term in November but is considered particularly vulnerable in the 2018 elections given that he’s one of 23 Republicans representing a district won by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.

No signs of progress have emerged in negotiations over the GOP’s healthcare proposal over the two-week April recess. House GOP leaders added an amendment before leaving for the break to create a $15 billion program to help insurers cover the costs of the most expensive patients, but that doesn’t appear to have added more supporters.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) had told lawmakers in a memo on the day they departed Washington that they could be called back early to vote on the healthcare bill if an agreement emerged, but so far there’s no sign of cutting short the recess.

The House returns to session next Tuesday, only three days before Congress is tasked with passing a spending package to avoid a government shutdown.

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