Earlier this week, Trump promised a group of conservative activists that he's open to major changes to the bill, while White House adviser Kellyanne Conway separately insisted to a different group of stakeholders that the bill was nearly in its final form.
House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows referred to Speaker Ryan's repeal bill as "Obamacare-lite" and criticized the bill for creating new entitlements through the bill's tax credits to purchase health insurance.
He said the House was likely to bring the Republicans' Obamacare replacement to floor vote on Thursday. "I believe that the real negotiation begins when we stop them".
"We think we should be offering more assistance than the bill now does", for lower-income people age 50 to 64, Ryan said of the tax credits for health insurance that are proposed in the legislation. He boasted that earlier in the day he had persuaded a dozen conservative House members to back the bill and that it is "going to be passed".
Ryan insisted that he felt "very good" about the bill's prospects but acknowledged that House leadership was "making fine-tuning improvements to the bill to reflect people's concerns".
Trump won the support of several conservative House members on Friday when he agreed to make changes to the Medicaid portion of the bill, including giving states the option of instituting a work requirement on childless, able-bodied adults who receive the benefit.
That would need to be fashioned in a way to get both the House and Senate to pass it and send it on to President Donald Trump for his signature. We will take care of our people, or I'm not signing it. "But is the major decrease in the number of people - according to the CBO - who will have health insurance, is it freedom or is it that some people will no longer be able to afford health insurance under your plan?"
"These changes definitely strengthen our numbers", said the House GOP's top vote counter, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana.
"That is among the things we're looking at doing, yes", Ryan replied cagily. He joins GOP Rep. John Katko, from a closely divided district in upstate NY, who cited inadequate insurance access and cost controls.
Cruz said he can't vote for a bill that allows health insurance premiums to continue to rise. However, he did say that Trump has been "really darn successful" on Twitter. "We'll see what happens in the Senate". But I will say that NIH is something that's particularly popular in Congress. ...