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WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) — President Trump gained two more votes Wednesday in his effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

A new GOP version of the healthcare bill would leave it up to the states whether to require insurers to cover pre-existing conditions.

Two senators worked out a deal with the president to provide $8 billion over five years to help them pay the costly insurance premiums. Wednesday’s hastily arranged meeting with Michigan’s Fred Upton (R-MI 6th District) and Missouri’s Billy Long (R-MO 7th District) was meant to persuade them into favoring the bill.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that the pre-existing component of the new American Health Care Act is stronger than Obamacare’s legislation because it’s more affordable.

“My view, and I think the president’s view, is that, Obamacare, if you have a pre-existing condition and you no longer have a health care provider, or your premiums or deductible are going through the roof, then you don’t have coverage,” said Spicer. “If you have Obamacare right now, in case after case, you are losing it. So if you have a pre-existing condition and you have a card that says “Obamacare,” but no one will see you or you can’t afford it, then you don’t have coverage.”

“We’re gonna pass it. We’re gonna pass it. Let’s be optimistic about life,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

McCarthy is positive that he and House Speaker Paul Ryan finally have the votes they need to get rid of Obamacare, once and for all.

Just weeks after the embarrassment of a similar bill that was pulled for a lack of support, Republicans say they made enough changes to satisfy enough of their members to fulfill a promise they’ve been making to voters almost since the day Obamacare was passed seven years ago.

Late night comedian Jimmy Kimmel put a personal spin to the topic during an emotional monologue about his infant son, born with a heart defect.

“We were brought up to believe we live in the greatest country in the world,” he told his Jimmy Kimmel Live! audience. “If your baby is going to die, and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make. If you’re a Republican or Democrat or something else, that’s something we all agree with right?”

Kimmel’s plea drew the attention of former President Obama.

Spicer drove the point home when pressed by reporters.

“The president has made it very clear that pre-existing conditions are covered in the bill under every scenario,” he said. “I don’t know how much clearer we can state it.”

The White House expects to vote Friday or Saturday, CBS News’ Major Garrett reports, and the administration now believes the legislation has real momentum.


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