>> A frantic hunt for votes as Republicans near a crucial Thursday test for their plan to repeal Obamacare. I'm Andy Sullivan in Washington, where President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan are in a full-on blitz to round up the votes they need to get their health plan through the House of Representatives.
Some of their fellow Republicans are continuing to hold out. The question is whether enough of them will swallow their concerns and fall in line. Even if this bill passes the House, it faces a much steeper climb in the Senate. Republicans have vowed to repeal and replace President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act since it was passed in 2010, but they're finding it agonizingly difficult to deliver on that promise.
Conservatives think the tax credits embedded in Ryan's plan are too similar to Obama's signature law, while moderates think it's too different from Obamacare. They worry that it's too much of a break with the current system and will force out millions of people who have insurance now. Ryan has changed the bill to try to satisfy these concerns, but most observers say he's still short of the 215 he needs for passage.
>> Obamacare's making their lives so much more difficult.>> Trump's sticking with his script, blasting Obamacare as a disaster as he met with health workers in the White House. Later summoning a group of Conservatives in the upstart House Freedom Caucus to the White House for a final round of cajoling.
Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows saying after that meeting that Trump still doesn't have the votes, but hinting further changes could turn that around. The legislative sausage making now spilling into the open. Lawmakers from Upstate New York now dealing with withering media coverage after Ryan changed the way their state would deal with Medicaid funding to try to bring more of them aboard.
Exactly the sort of horse trading that Republicans criticized when Democrats were trying to pass Obamacare. Democrats are united against the bill, and former Vice President Joe Biden flatly predicting it won't become law. Public support for the plan dropping after the Congressional Budget Office found that it would leave one in five Americans without health insurance, according to a political poll out Wednesday.
Wavering Republicans also facing pressure from wealthy donors, like the Koch brothers, to vote against the bill. Putting the billionaire oil men in direct conflict with President Trump. Trump's saying some lawmakers could lose their seats if they vote against what he sees as the only chance to repeal Obamacare.
Republicans must choose between compromise and defeat, realizing that they can't blame Democrats this time if their plan falls apart.