Speed Reads

the health care debate

White House insists GOP health-care bill will pass ahead of tight vote

On Thursday afternoon, the conservative House Freedom Caucus announced it had not reached a deal in discussions with President Trump over the American Health Care Act, the Republican health-care bill that is expected to be put to a floor vote Thursday night. Losing the support of the conservative caucus narrows the bill's chances of passage considerably: Republican leadership cannot lose more than 22 Republican votes and still pass the bill through the lower chamber, but roughly two dozen Freedom Caucus members have said they would not support the plan. At the time of publication, NBC News' tally had a total of 31 "nos" from Republican congressmen.

"Something seismic would have to happen in the next few hours to turn this bill around," Politico estimates. "At this point, if a deal emerged, it would be very late tonight. In the midnight hour, perhaps."

But when questioned about the bill Thursday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer insisted it would pass. "We continue to see the number [of Freedom Caucus members who support the bill] go up, not down, and that's a very positive sign," he said.

"We continue to see the number go up and not down," Spicer says on House Freedom Caucus support of health care bill https://t.co/T5uqoA85rO pic.twitter.com/0ULpLMBAlO

— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 23, 2017

The same cannot be said for American voters, a new Quinnipiac poll of 1,056 voters found. Fifty-six percent of American voters disapproved of the ObamaCare replacement, the poll found, while just 17 percent supported it. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.