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Trump's healthcare law faces Republican rebellion

WASHINGTON US President Donald Trump has endorsed Republican legislation to replace the Obamacare healthcare law, but the measure faced a rebellion by conservative groups and lawmakers, complicating its chances for passage in the US Congress.

Speaker Paul Ryan said he could guarantee he had enough votes to win passage of the measure in the House, adding that conservatives should be excited about the plan to replace Democratic former president Barack Obama's signature domestic policy achievement.

But conservatives slammed the proposal, with Republican Senator Mike Lee calling it "exactly the type of back-room dealing and rushed process that we criticised Democrats for".

Mr Trump said the plan was open to negotiation, but said it had already earned support "from everybody".

DENOUNCED

Democrats denounced the proposal as taking away health insurance from millions of Americans and benefiting the rich.

Some conservative Republicans complained that the bill did not go far enough in removing government from the healthcare industry.

In the Senate, where Republicans can afford to lose only two votes from their razor-thin majority, Republican Senator Rand Paul called the plan "Obamacare Lite", and said he wanted a repeal-only option.

Conservative groups backed by billionaire Republican donors, brothers Charles and David Koch, urged its defeat for different reasons.

The Club for Growth derided it as "RyanCare" and a "warmed-over substitute for government-run healthcare".

White House Office of Budget and Management Director Mick Mulvaney said the plan should pass the House before lawmakers break in mid-April.

Senator Roy Blunt, a member of the Senate Republican leadership, appeared to question whether there were enough votes in Congress for passage.

"I am going to be very anxious to hear how we get to 51 votes and how the House gets to 218," Mr Blunt told reporters, referring to the minimum number of votes needed for passage in the two chambers. - REUTERS

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