Beleaguered health care bill gets new terms in effort to secure votes

Senate Republicans and the White House have agreed to add at least $45 billion to their Obamacare repeal bill to address the opioid crisis and are near agreement on allowing consumers to use Health Savings Account money to pay for their premiums, according to people familiar with the matter.

The additions come as Senate Republicans are scrambling to get to 50 votes on their health care legislation. Both additions are expected to help get additional Republicans on board — opioid funding could help win over moderates and HSAs for conservatives. But there is no guarantee the language will do enough to substantially improve the bill’s prospects, Republican sources said.

Conservatives like the idea of allowing people to use HSA funding to pay for premiums, arguing that it drives down premiums and encourages the use of the savings accounts.

Sens. Rob Portman and Shelley Moore Capito — both of whom said they would have opposed the original Senate bill — have asked for $45 billion in opioid funding. The opioid crisis has flared in both of their states. The opioid figure could rise.

Republican leaders, having already delayed their Obamacare repeal vote until after the Fourth of July recess, want to come to an agreement in principle on the modified bill by the end of this week. After a score from the Congressional Budget Office — which would take up to two weeks — they hope to hold a vote.

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