With a vote on the GOP bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act just hours away, the last remaining holdouts in the Republican conference are feeling the heat. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), who as of Wednesday was undecided and hadn’t seen the final text of the bill, told TPM Thursday morning that he is feeling much better about the bill.
“Some of my concerns have been addressed, but there are others,” he said, walking out of a closed-door meeting in the Capitol basement.
Curbelo said he was largely convinced by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), who rolled out a new amendment yesterday that allocates an additional $8 billion dollars over five years for states that opt out of cost protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
“No matter where someone ends up in the health care states, even if they are in one of these opt-out states and they haven’t kept continuous coverage, there’s going to be support for him. That’s what the Upton amendment kind of cures. That was important for me,” he said.
Moderates like Curbelo remain uncomfortable with many aspects of the underlying bill—including cuts to Medicaid on the magnitude of hundreds of billions of dollars.
Yet many, including Curbelo, have told TPM they are pinning their hopes on the Senate to sand down the legislation’s harshest edges. He says he is already working with his fellow Floridian Sen. Marco Rubio and other Senate offices on amendments to increase tax credits for low-income people who are nearing the age of retirement.
“I want as much of a guarantee as I can get from Senate offices that that is a major priority and that it’s going to get done,” he said.
Curbelo did not seem aware of a little-noticed provision in the bill that allows for the return of annual and lifetime limits on health care in employer-sponsored plans.
“The [Energy and Commerce] committee has argued that that wouldn’t be the case, but I need to get more information on that,” he said.