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Storm clouds hover over GOP push in Congress on health care reform

Published: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 @ 3:19 AM

While GOP leaders declared that "failure is not an option" on a plan to overhaul the Obama health law, there were fresh signs of growing discontent among Republican lawmakers of all stripes in the Congress, as some of that may spill out in a closed door meeting of House Republicans set for this evening at the U.S. Capitol.

"I have decided to vote no on the bill as currently written," said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), a more moderate Republican who called for a broader approach on health care reform.

"We should work together to write a bipartisan bill that works for our community and our nation without hurting the elderly and disadvantaged among us," the veteran Republican said.

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On the other side of the Republican Party, conservatives are still grumbling about the details, convinced it is not the right mix.

"We've got to fix it," said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who has stood with a group of House Republicans who don't like a $361 billion package of tax credits developed by GOP leaders to help people pay for health insurance.

But while there were red flags being waved by some in the rank-and-file, the GOP leadership was still saying, "full steam ahead."

"I think failure is not an option and that’s why you are seeing a lot of good-faith negotiation, and ultimately we’re very close on the final details," said Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), the number three Republican in the U.S. House.

House GOP leaders will hear from members during a closed door meeting of Republicans set for Wednesday evening; on Thursday morning, the House Budget Committee is slated to start debate and votes on the GOP plan.

"The system now is not working," said White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday, as he again urged Republicans to realize, that when compared to the Obama health law, the GOP plan looks golden.

"There isn't really a choice, the system now is failing," Spicer added, as he made the case for GOP health care overhaul efforts.

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