White House pushes uncertain bid to revive health care bill

Danny Woods
April 21, 2017

"He has insisted during these discussions that any legislation must have protections for pre-existing conditions", his office wrote on a social media post Thursday. "As soon as we solve that, we can have a vote", the official said.

The colleagues he has spoken with appear "cautiously optimistic", Cole added.

Why? 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. But instead of just letting the American Health Care Act rot in the ground, they're hell-bent on finding some way to breathe new life into legislation that nearly everyone else prefers would stay dead.

"They have yet another agreement in principle, but no final legislative language", the member told CNN.

MacArthur's proposal, which could be voted on by the House as early as next week, would allow states to waive federal rules limiting how much insurers can charge those with asthma, diabetes, cancer, mental health problems, or other illnesses.

I can tell you the president has communicated to me on more than four different occasions that he wants the very best bill possible for the American people and that he believes that not only will we get a better bill but with everyone's input-not just conservative members, but conservatives, moderates and those that are in between-that we'll get a better bill and we'll shock the American people when they actually see their healthcare insurance premiums come down. During a speech in London on Wednesday, the speaker said Republicans are "very close" to agreeing on a bill that can pass the lower chamber.

Later in the day, Bloomberg reported that House GOP leaders were balking at a White House push for a quick vote on the legislation when Congress returns from recess on Tuesday.

But there are significant obstacles.

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They cited the higher priority of passing a spending bill within days to avert a government shutdown, uncertainty over details of the developing health agreement and a need to sell it to politicians. Moderate conservatives would allow this as long as Trumpcare 2.0 includes the Essential Health Benefits provision that was taken out of the previous version of the health care plan. At the time, they argued it would not do enough to lower premiums costs.

The Tuesday Group has roughly 50 members.

It would deliver a win to moderates by amending the Republican bill to restore Mr Obama's requirement that insurers cover specified services like maternity care. To obtain the waiver, states would have to provide sick people priced out of commercial insurance access to a so-called high-risk pool run by the federal government, or establish their own, and satisfy other conditions.

"While President Trump and leaders in Congress promised to protect health coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, this new plan undermines this critically important and wildly popular ACA provision".

States could seek these waivers for essential health benefits and community-rating rules, except for those regarding gender, age, and health status (with the exception of states with high-risk pools). The current deal-making has centered on what triggers would allow states to opt out and how much additional funding would be provided.

Many Republicans also expressed doubts that the health care compromise would win over enough members to put the bill over the top, especially among moderates.

"Everything had been moving smoothly until the administration moved in with a heavy hand", said Matt House, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

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