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Ross D. Franklin / AP

The House Republican health care bill is alive again! It's picking up some votes from the conservative Freedom Caucus, and there's even legislative text now. The only thing it doesn't seem to have: moderate Republican votes.

That's a problem, though it may be mostly the moderates' problem. Because now all the pressure is going to be on them.

  • If House Republicans can't get the 216 votes they need to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act now, it's all going to be pinned on the moderates, which is exactly what they were afraid of.
  • But if they do vote for it, they're going to be slammed for weakening the Affordable Care Act's protections for people with pre-existing conditions, as well as the benefits insurers have to provide. The whole point of the amendment is to let states write their own rules on those.
  • These are exactly the kinds of changes that got disastrous polling numbers in the ABC News-Washington Post poll yesterday. (Just 26 percent of Americans want to let states decide pre-existing condition coverage.)
  • The amendment does have limits: people with pre-existing conditions couldn't be denied coverage, they'd just be charged more, but only if they lived in states that got waivers and they didn't keep themselves insured, plus the state has to have a high-risk pool. Try explaining that at the next town hall.
  • But if moderates reject the compromise, they'll be the target of conservative groups that have already accused them of standing in the way.
  • About the only moderate who's safe in this is Rep. Tom MacArthur, the author of the amendment. And he was already a yes on the GOP health care bill anyway.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats' billionaires tax explained

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There is now legislative language behind the push to tax American billionaires on unrealized capital gains, as Sen. Ron Wyden last night released his 107-page plan.

Why it matters: This would be a sea change in U.S. tax policy, which has only applied to realized gains (otherwise known as income).

4 hours ago - World

Scoop: Blinken protests Israel settlements approval in "tense" phone call

Benny Gantz (L) and Tony Blinken. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/Pool/AFP via Getty

Secretary of State Tony Blinken protested the decision to approve 3,000 new housing units in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank during a tense phone call on Tuesday with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, three Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: This is the first time new construction in the settlements has been approved since President Biden assumed office, and the Biden administration had been privately pressing the Israeli government not to proceed.

The startup that wants to disrupt big internet providers

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

A new startup backed by funding from AOL founder Steve Case and Laurene Powell Jobs wants to break up broadband monopolies across the country.

Why it matters: Internet access has been crucial during the pandemic, but it's not ubiquitous, and it can be both slow and unaffordable in swaths of the country.

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