GOP Leaders Delay Vote For House Health Care Bill, Kansas' Yoder Could Cast Key Vote

Mar 23, 2017

Updated 2:41 p.m. 

The vote on the Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, will not take place on Thursday. The AP reports that House GOP leaders have delayed the vote. According to NPR, "it could get a vote Friday, but the path forward is uncertain." 

Congressman Kevin Yoder still appears to be undecided. 

Yoder's spokesman, CJ Grover shared this statement: "As changes are being made to the bill we are taking them into account, but Congressman Yoder has told leadership that removing preexisting conditions is a non-starter for him. He will make a decision based on the final product and continued feedback from constituents." 

Original post follows:

A debate many conservatives have waited years for will take place in Washington, D.C. Thursday. NPR reports Republican House leaders are scrambling to assure their party members vote for a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare. 

To pass, they need 216 votes. It's unclear the GOP has that many. 

Kansas Congressman Kevin Yoder could cast an important vote. He's the only member of the state's congressional delegation to not take a forceful public position for the health care replacement plan. Instead, he's allowed constituents to offer him feedback on the measure at his website. 

In an analysis of how lawmakers may vote, The New York Times puts Yoder in a column of lawmakers who are either supporting the plan or "leaning yes." 

Yoder, unlike many of his colleagues, has not held public town halls about health care and has issued no public statements either for or against the Republican health care plan, known as the American Health Care Act. That differs from his immediate criticism of proposals to cut funding to the National Institutes of Health, contained in President Donald Trump's initial budget issued last week. 

In contrast, Yoder's fellow Kansas Republican Rep. Lynn Jenkins has been a vocal supporter of the AHCA. She faced down a raucous crowd of hundreds in Lawrence earlier this month. She was repeatedly shouted down and booed as she defended the Republican plan. 

The Kansas City Star reports Yoder recently met with a group of health care leaders, who gave him a "stern warning" about the potential effects of the AHCA on Kansas. 

Kyle Palmer is KCUR's morning newscaster. You can follow him on Twitter @kcurkyle.