Future of revamped health care bill remains dubious in House
Apr 21 2017 by Kathy Alvarado
Capitol Hill sources said an amendment to the GOP-sponsored American Health Care Act would be circulated to the Republican caucus in a matter of hours - a series of Band-aid patches created to make the bill palatable to both the centrist and conservative wings of the GOP. Ryan has said the administration should continue to pay out the subsidies while the lawsuit is ongoing, but President Donald Trump has not committed to providing them and alluded to using the payments as a tool to bring Democrats to the negotiating table.
"I'm optimistic that we will have a bill that accomplishes all the goals that so many of us have campaigned on, promised, and yet the work's not done", Meadows told the Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times.
To receive the waiver, though, states must set up a high-risk insurance pool or participate in the federal high-risk pool. Talk is cheap, and functioning high-risk pools are expensive. But it would allow states to apply for a waiver of this requirement if they can prove that would lower premiums and expand the number of people with health care coverage.
Still, Republicans ran on repealing and replacing Obamacare for seven years and were elected, in part, on that pledge. That's a point of concern, especially for the conservative hardliners of the House Freedom Caucus.
"As of now, the broader conference is not aware of what the new health care blueprint is, suggesting that things are very much in the air".
The original bill that Speaker Paul Ryan was forced to pull because he could not gather enough votes from his own party to pace it also faced an uphill climb in the Senate, where even Republicans balked at being associated with a law that would strip 24 million people of their health insurance.
And there are serious philosophical divides between the House's more moderate and conservative members.
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Try to think all the way back to March 7 - it was more than a month ago, I know - when House Republicans introduced their much-ballyhooed American Health Care Act.
A vote next week-occurring at the same time Congress debates a government spending bill-would give lawmakers little time to read the plan. Like what you're reading? Vice President Mike Pence also played a role in shaping that plan, Republicans say.
However, this means that the Trump administration, most likely Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, would have final say on whether or not a waiver is granted.
But the White House is pushing for the House to vote on the newly revised plan next week, and Republicans are expected to discuss the path forward on a conference call Saturday.
Ryan recently said negotiators were putting the "finishing touches" on an effort to bridge the gap between archconservatives who want to tear down the Affordable Care Act's rules on insurers and centrists who've pledged to defend popular protections in the program. "This will be done in 2017, that is our time line, we would like to get it done as soon as possible", Ryan told reporters during a visit to London that was part of a multi-nation trip aimed at strengthening USA economic and security ties with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.
When House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows confidently told reporters last week that Republicans were "growing closer to a consensus" on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, many eyebrows were raised.