Stocks fall as doubts over healthcare bill rise

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US stocks slipped to session lows as it looked less likely that Congress will cast a critical first vote Thursday on a Republican bill to roll back Barack Obama’s healthcare reforms, as haggling continued between the White House and conservatives as well as moderate lawmakers.

The S&P 500 recently traded 0.24 per cent lower, marking the lows of the day, with about thirty minutes to go ahead of the closing bell in New York.

Investors were tuned into events unfolding on Capitol Hill.

The House of Representatives was initially scheduled to vote on the bill – known as the American Health Care Act, and intended to undo parts of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare – on Thursday. But doubts have grown steadily in Congress about whether the vote will take place today as planned, or be pushed back to give President Donald Trump and Republicans time to drum up the votes needed to pass the bill.

Paul Ryan, who leads the House Republicans, had initially planned to speak to reporters at his weekly briefing at 11 am Eastern Time. That was pushed back to 3:30 as the drumbeat of questions over the bill’s fate grew louder. Shortly before Mr Ryan – one of the bill’s architects – was scheduled to speak at 3:30, his office announced that the briefing had been postponed until a time yet to be determined.

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