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Alex Brandon / AP

The House is about to give it one more try with the Republican health care bill. Rep. Fred Upton will introduce an amendment that would provide $8 billion over five years to help protect people with pre-existing conditions, an attempt to bring moderate holdouts to the table.

What the amendment does: It's a fund to pay the penalty for not being previously insured for those who get priced out from the market based on health status.

What spooked moderates: An amendment by Rep. Tom MacArthur that would allow states, in limited circumstances, to waive the Affordable Care Act's essential health benefits and ban on charging sick people higher premiums. People with pre-existing conditions could only be charged more based on health status if they had a lapse in health coverage, so these would be the people helped by Upton's amendment.

President Trump, VP Pence and Paul Ryan teamed up to call undecided House members yesterday, lobbying them to support the revised bill. A staff member for a wavering member told Axios his boss had heard from all three of them.

Early Wednesday morning, well-placed sources in the White House and in the House Republican conference told us the momentum was driving towards a vote on Thursday. The White House has been more bullish all along, and senior House sources have been consistently exasperated at administration officials setting artificial deadlines.

Senior House lawmakers remain concerned about the potential for the new, more moderate, language to unnerve the ultra conservative House Freedom Caucus members. Members like Jim Jordan were reluctant to sign onto the original MacArthur amendment, and could easily be lost.

Go deeper

Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Starbucks has dropped plans to require that U.S. workers get the COVID vaccine or submit to weekly testing, the company announced Tuesday in a memo to employees.

Why it matters: The company's decision comes in response to the Supreme Court's ruling last week to block the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

3 hours ago - World

Netanyahu plea talks enter crunch time

Netanyahu (right) meets with his lawyer ahead of a court hearing last February. Photo: Reuven Casto/Pool/AFP via Getty

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's opposition leader and former prime minister, is negotiating a possible plea deal over the corruption charges against him, but Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit appears to be toughening his terms.

Why it matters: Mandelblit leaves office on Jan. 31. Negotiations could continue beyond that point, but the next attorney general may be less interested in quickly reaching a deal.

3 hours ago - Health

Omicron hits American hospitals disproportionately hard

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

America is seeing more COVID hospitalizations than other wealthy countries during the Omicron surge, according to Our World in Data.

Why it matters: Vaccines keep the vast majority of COVID cases out of the hospital, but vaccination rates are also lower in the U.S. than these other countries.