Senate Republicans rolled out modest revisions to their health care bill on Monday, including a penalty for Americans who have a lapse in insurance coverage.
The changes come as Senate Republican leaders try to garner more support from inside the party for their ObamaCare overhaul, with several members voicing reservations. The changes announced Monday, though, are not necessarily part of those negotiations.
Under the updated version, those who have a break in insurance coverage for 63 days or more in the prior year would face a six-month waiting period to start new coverage. During that six-month window, consumers would not have to pay premiums. The penalty would start in 2019.
This was a gray area in the initial version of the Senate’s “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.” The original draft made it clear that the individual mandate -- the ObamaCare tax penalty imposed on those who do not purchase health insurance -- would be eliminated, but included no penalty for people who let coverage expire.
While the individual mandate is widely opposed by conservatives and libertarians, it was originally included as a way to push healthier people into the insurance system -- to help cover the cost of insuring sicker customers.
The House version likewise did away with the mandate's tax penalty but included a substitute.
The House's American Health Care Act, which passed narrowly on May 4, allowed for insurance companies to impose a 30 percent surcharge on those who purchase a new plan after letting their previous coverage lapse.
Senior Republican aides told Fox News the changes represent “a technical correction to the bill,” and not a compromise to win over GOP senators who have expressed wavering support.
Last week, five Republican senators came out against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s, R-Ky., plan, making it nearly impossible for the package to pass the chamber in its current form.
Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., said on Friday that the bill is “simply not the answer,” joining Republican Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., in opposition.
McConnell, who introduced the legislation last week, needs 50 votes to pass the bill out of the Senate and to the House, with Vice President Mike Pence serving as the tie-breaking vote. But without the support of Paul, Cruz, Lee, Johnson and Heller, passage of the bill in its current form is nearly impossible, unless Republicans can manage to draw Democratic votes, which is highly unlikely.
“I didn’t run on ObamaCare lite,” Paul said last week. “I think we can do better than this—my hope is not to defeat the bill, but to make it better.”
The Congressional Budget Office is likely to release a score on the Senate’s bill on Monday afternoon, and McConnell is pushing to get the bill onto the floor for a vote before the July 4 recess.
Fox News' Mike Emanuel and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.
Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.