White House woos GOP lawmakers with revised health care bill
"We will never meet with the Freedom Caucus", said Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., a member of the Tuesday Group.
The crash of the House Republican health care bill may well have transformed an issue the party has long used to bash Democrats into the GOP's own political nightmare. At a minimum, the ACA might have included a government-run health-insurance program for which the country's whole population would have been eligible-the so-called "public option" that was removed from the bill after former Democratic Sen.
"It's premature to say where we are or what we're on because we're at that conceptual stage right now", Ryan told reporters.
In remarks after the defeat, Trump called himself a "team player" and praised Ryan and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price as working "very, very hard" on the bill. Until then, Freedom Caucus members negotiating among themselves does not a deal make.
House GOP leaders, for their part, are tamping down expectations that there will soon be a breakthrough that would allow them to pass an ObamaCare repeal bill.
In an interview published on Sunday by the Financial Times, Trump was adamant he wanted to get a healthcare bill passed, and said he would turn his back on the Freedom Caucus and negotiate with Democrats if that is what it took. Ways and Means Chair Kevin Brady told reporters, "I don't know that there are any negotiations occurring; I know that there are conversations between members".
The essential health benefits require insurers to cover, at minimum, 10 categories of medical care including hospital trips, doctor visits, and maternity care.
But there was no evidence that the proposal won over any GOP opponents who'd forced Trump and party leaders to beat an unceremonious retreat on their bill on March 24, when they canceled a House vote that was doomed to failure.
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Movement on health care accelerated Monday when Pence met separately with both sympathetic members of the moderate Tuesday Group and the entire House Freedom Caucus.
White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said Trump would be golfing and talking policy, including health care, with Paul, a licensed ophthalmologist, and budget director Mick Mulvaney.
"I'm not going to raise expectations, but I think that there are more and more people coming to the table with more and more ideas about how to grow that vote", Spicer said. Trump at one point said the House border tax is too complicated, then said it's in the mix. And while the proposal would technically keep the provision that bars insurance companies from denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions, it would allow states to scrap the "community rating" provision, which would allow providers to charge higher rates to sick people, Axios reports.
While Pence has gotten heavily involved behind the scenes, the vice president's initial meeting Monday with a small group of moderate members today was the first sign that anyone from the White House has started to approach the work of assuaging the concerns of the equally skittish moderates inside the conference.
The Trump administration is unlikely to renew its push to repeal and replace the ACA through a single bill like the AHCA, but may attempt to water down elements of healthcare reform through administrative actions created to reduce federal subsidies and weaken health insurance exchanges.
And, there was still little evidence that Pence's renewed push had changed any minds in the House Freedom Caucus. Brooks said he still thought the best solution would be to bring up the 2015 repeal bill that the House and Senate already voted on.
Ryan has suggested that they get together to sort out their differences, but it's not happening, according to one key lawmaker.
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