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Freedom Caucus backs revised Obamacare repeal bill in significant development

The Freedom Caucus is officially backing a new proposed piece to add to the House Republicans’ bill to repeal and replace Obamacare -- a significant step toward getting to a floor vote.

The spokeswoman for the group of conservatives tweeted the development Wednesday.

The eight-page amendment has been crafted by Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-New Jersey, a leader of the moderate Tuesday Group in the House, and it has been distributed to members of the GOP conference. His plan would allow states to receive federal waivers for certain Obamacare coverage requirements in an effort to encourage “fair health insurance premiums.”

“We think the MacArthur amendment is a great way to lower premiums, give states more flexibility, while protecting people with preexisting conditions,” Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, told reporters Wednesday following a closed-door House GOP Conference meeting. “We think it’s constructive.”

While some lawmakers leaving the conference meeting suggested that a vote next week on the revised health care bill is possible, Ryan emphasized, “We’ll vote on it when we get the votes.”

Two conservative groups that were opposed to the original health care bill last month are now voicing support for the new version.

Sen. Manchin interview 13:28

“While we’re still short of full repeal, this latest agreement would give states the chance to opt out of some of Obamacare’s costliest regulations, opening the way to greater choice and lower insurance premiums. It’s a solution that we’ve supported for weeks, and the time to move forward is now,” said Club for Growth President David McIntosh in a statement.

FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon said that the amendment addresses “two costly parts of Obamacare” that would allow states to enroll more people in insurance plans and bring premiums down.

“If the MacArthur-Meadows amendment were adopted, we would immediately withdraw our key vote against the American Health Care Act,” Brandon said.

Last month, Republicans failed to secure enough votes for the original version of the bill that was supported by the White House. House GOP leaders had to cancel votes for two consecutive days on the bill because they didn’t have enough support.

CBS News’ Catherine Reynolds contributed to this report. 

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