Former GOP chairman 'cannot support' new healthcare bill

Former GOP chairman 'cannot support' new healthcare bill
© Greg Nash

Former House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) told GOP leadership he cannot support the revised GOP health care bill, Upton said in a local radio interview on Tuesday.

Upton told Michigan’s WHTC that the deal struck to bring on board Freedom Caucus conservatives went against his principles. The amended bill would allow states to waive ObamaCare protections preventing people with from being charged more based on their health, if certain conditions are met to provide coverage in high-risk pools.

“I’m not at all comfortable with removing that protection. I’ve supported the practice of not allowing pre-existing illnesses from being discriminated against from the very get-go,” Upton said in the interview. “This amendment torpedoes that. And I told leadership I cannot support this bill with this provision in it. … 

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“It’s not going to get my yes vote the way it is.”

Upton’s defection brings to 22 the number of GOP no votes on the revised health bill; one more Republican “no” could kill the measure, given that Democrats all plan to vote against it.

The former Energy and Commerce's chairman’s “no” vote represents a blow to President Trump, Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanWarren now also knocking Biden on Social Security Biden alleges Sanders campaign 'doctored video' to attack him on Social Security record Sanders campaign responds to Biden doctored video claims: Biden should 'stop trying to doctor' public record MORE (R-Wis.) and fellow GOP leaders who have been struggling to corral support for the ObamaCare repeal-and-replace plan.

“There are not the votes to move this forward as of this morning,” Upton said.

On Monday, conservative Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.) said he would vote no on the bill, also arguing the changes would harm those with pre-existing conditions.

- This story was updated at 11:16 a.m.