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John Minchillo / AP

Attempts to reach a deal this week on health care are unraveling fast, with conservatives already blaming House Speaker Paul Ryan for blocking the White House bill, and leadership sources saying that's nonsense and that the Freedom Caucus is making unreasonable demands that are losing net votes.

It's a bad sign for Republicans ahead of Vice President Mike Pence's visit to the Capitol tonight. From a senior Republican source:

While we haven't picked up any votes yet, this concept is already showing signs of losing a ton of them.

The Freedom Caucus and conservative group perspective: The bill's text is changing for the worse, and it no longer looks like some of the Obamacare regulations will be waived. Conservatives are growing doubtful that the White House and House leadership are willing to get rid of Obamacare's ban on charging sick people higher premiums. Conservatives also want to know what leadership has to say about the "medical loss ratio," or the Obamacare regulation limiting how much of insurers' revenue can be profit.

They're also not happy about the accusation that getting rid of the Obamacare ban on charging higher premiums would nullify its protections for pre-existing conditions.

A Freedom Caucus source: "We've never ever wanted to go after pre-existing conditions. That's spin (well a lie) meant to undermine us. Pence said he supports our plan of reforming, and funding changes to high risk pools, specifically to deal with pre-existing conditions."

House leadership perspective: Where the plan is heading will potentially lose more votes than it picks up. The Freedom Caucus, they say, is moving the goal posts again and trying to shift blame.

What to watch: Pence's meeting tonight around 8:30pm with "major stakeholders," per a GOP source.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. faces urgent anti-hacker crisis

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

The Biden administration is accelerating efforts to fill nearly 600,000 vacant cybersecurity positions in the public and private sectors bogging down efforts to protect digital infrastructure.

Why it matters: Following a deluge of ransomware attacks targeting critical government and corporate infrastructure this year, clogs in the talent pipeline are leaving federal, cash-strapped local governments and Big Business even more susceptible to hacking.

Mike Allen, author of AM
6 hours ago - World

Courage vs. coddling with China

Peng Shuai of China serves during the China Open in Beijing in 2017. Photo: Andy Wong/AP

The women's professional tennis tour suspended tournaments in China Wednesday out of concern for Peng Shuai, on the same day that a top business voice made excuses for Beijing.

Why it matters: Ahead of February's Winter Olympics in Beijing, some sports figures are taking on the regime — while Big Business shrinks from confrontation with the world's second-largest economy.

6 hours ago - Sports

What to know about the first MLB lockout since 1995

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Hope you enjoyed the recent flurry of free-agent activity, because it's likely the last non-lockout-related MLB news for a while.

Driving the news: The owners locked out the players after the collective bargaining agreement expired at midnight last night, leading to MLB's ninth work stoppage — and first since 1995.