GOP lawmakers weigh White House offer to revive health care bill

Moderates in the House also appeared optimistic after the meeting but were still unsure whether the G.O.P. could reach a consensus on overhauling the $3 trillion health-care industry. The Trump-Ryan repeal and replace plan was a creature of the health insurance lobby.

The momentum to do something, however, brings about the same angst that came with the negotiations the first time around.

Now that they have a new shot at repealing Obamacare, conservatives in the House want to see more of those regulations repealed. However, divisions that existed within the conference before are ever present now, and some members are already feeling like the GOP Is repeating past mistakes.

During an interview with "60 Minutes" following the election, Trump said that the preexisting-conditions aspects of Obamacare "adds cost, but it's very much something we're going to try and keep". Some weren't waiting, with moderate Rep.

"For every adjustment you make one way, it has an equal and opposite reaction the other way", he said. "It's déjà vu in that there seems to be an absolute phobia for holding a committee meeting on the record for establishing foundation for what you did, which I don't think is a great start".

Last week, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, became the first conservative Republican to jump ship from the House Freedom Caucus after the group effectively blocked the GOP health care plan last month. Pence followed that up with a visit to Capitol Hill to sit down with the conservative and so-far intransigent House Freedom Caucus.

Opposition from the House Freedom Caucus which has around three dozen conservative Republicans, contributed to circumstances that forced House Speaker Paul Ryan to withdraw the health care bill from a March 24 vote that would have produced a certain defeat.

But, some members aren't enticed by what the Vice President is reportedly offering.

Aware of the divisions within his own party, Ryan cautioned reporters Tuesday about the state of Republicans' progress on the issue, saying what's important is that members are talking through their differences. Those changes could allow states to charge higher rates to sick people, several lawmakers said. That's because people with pre-existing conditions wouldn't be able to find comprehensive coverage with the benefits they need, or because their out-of-pocket costs would be much higher, or because they couldn't find coverage at all ― except, perhaps, for premiums that would make even expensive Obamacare policies look dirt cheap by comparison.

That is something that may dissuade moderates and hurt support for the House GOP bill. "Of course it's hard", said Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., a leader of the Tuesday Group of House GOP moderates. "That's occurring right now, but that is not to say that we are ready to go".

"The biggest change was putting the essential health benefits back in", said Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., a leading moderate and Trump loyalist.

Terms discussed by the White House and the Freedom Caucus - a group of conservative lawmakers in the House of Representatives - on Monday evening were reported Tuesday in The New York Times. Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows said removing community ratings was not promised by Pence, but "there's been solid discussions of potential options". "@freedomcaucus hasn't seen legislative text and has taken no position on the proposal".

Behind the scenes there is also a lot of confusion about what is even on the table.

More importantly, the central problem of winning over both the Freedom Caucus and the Coverage Caucus remains.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) commented that Republican lawmakers are having productive talks on a new healthcare reform bill, but noted that it was too soon to say when a new proposal would be put forth.

"This would be automatic, five years, no discretion (by) the executive branch", the member said describing how they thought the waivers would be easily granted. "That's not an exhaustive list, and frankly if we're looking at getting a waiver, that means getting more of those insurance mandates, not less", he said.

Members will leave for a two-week recess Friday where they will no doubt have to answer tough questions in their districts about health care, what the proposal is and whether or not they support it.

  • Leroy Wright