White House, lawmakers adrift over reviving health bill
- Author: Myrtle Hill Apr 06, 2017,
Apr 06, 2017, 2:35
But I can tell you the Freedom Caucus members are anxious to provide a yes, which means the negotiations are hopefully entering their final stages as we look for a place to compromise for the American people.
While progress had been made, the officials and House lawmakers said no bill text had been agreed on and no decisions had been made by the various Republican factions. He hosted the leaders of the Tuesday Group, Republican Study Committee and House Freedom Caucus in his office on Tuesday for their regular weekly meeting.
Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker said the focus when talks resumed would be on sticking points such as whether to allow states to opt out of Obamacare mandates that insurers must cover a minimum tier of services and can not charge more to those with pre-existing conditions - a popular provision of the law that Trump has promised to protect. "I've watched that. It doesn't work", said Ryan. "That's occurring right now". "All I would say is perhaps the most popular domestic funding we have among Republicans is NIH".
Several lawmakers said they think a vote could still occur this week.
"The administration is saying it would like it this week", Republican Rep. Chris Collins of NY said Tuesday morning.
Later Tuesday, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., his party's chief vote counter, said discussions were not "where there is consensus" on health care and indicated a vote this week was unlikely.
With Congress' recess nearing and Trump meeting this week with three foreign leaders, there was little expectation within the White House earlier Monday that there would be significant movement on a health care bill in coming days.
The details of the conservatives' meeting with Pence and others were described by Meadows and another participant who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the private strategy session.
Sanford did not attend the Tuesday night meeting but said, "There was not concurrence on where the left and the right in the conference are on the bill". "I am unconcerned about popularity and polling when I'm focused on advancing our principles and policies that we believe are necessary to get the country back on track". Meadows added, "There's a whole lot of things that we have to work out".More news: Heavy rain and possible severe weather on tap for Sunday
On Wednesday afternoon, Ryan was spotted huddling on the House floor with Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), one of the authors of the original health legislation.
"They feel like Pence is one of us", the Freedom Caucus member told The Hill. "I'm not saying I think it'll happen - I don't know - but I think it's possible".
Under the White House offer, states would be allowed to apply for waivers from several coverage requirements that President Barack Obama's 2010 health care law imposed on insurers. The current version of the GOP legislation erases that coverage requirement, but would let states reimpose them on their own. Conservatives have argued that such requirements have the effect of inflating insurance costs. The plan comes after the March 24 death in the House of the GOP's American Health Care Act (also known as Trumpcare), which did not garner enough support to pass - particularly among many members of the conservative Freedom Caucus.
Talk of a revived plan hurt shares of hospitals and insurers that have benefited from Obamacare's expansion of the Medicaid program for the poor, which extended insurance to millions of people and helped cut hospital debt.
Reaction from rank-and-file GOP lawmakers to the White House's revisions was mixed.
Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-New Jersey, who opposed the first iteration of the bill, tweeted Tuesday that he is still against the proposal. Vice President Mike Pence and two top White House officials made the offer Monday night in a closed-door meeting with members of the House Freedom Caucus. Conservative Republicans claimed the planwas too much like Obamacare, as it still provided some federal funding for health care.
He also played a round of golf Sunday with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who has been a sharp critic of the House bill and praised its failure less than two weeks before.
Trump administration officials and leading GOP legislators said they are not giving up trying to find common ground between conservatives and moderates.
"If conservatives want 100 percent repeal, let's say moderates want 80 percent repeal", he said.