Ryan on ObamaCare overhaul: 'Real progress' being made

But while leaders said the tweak showed momentum for the legislation, it appeared that larger divisions over the bill's content have yet to be bridged.

Democrats were dismissive. "It's as if the president and Paul Ryan went to some of the Republicans and the Freedom Caucus and said, 'We can make this worse, '" Rep. Jan Schakowsky of IL said. "While we're still working toward a final agreement, progress was made this week on some new policy", the aide said.

Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., a sponsor of the amendment, said it was aimed at containing premiums by providing an additional $15 billion over a decade to help insurers cover the costs of seriously ill people. Patients tended to be very sick, and premiums were often too expensive.

Ryan and McCarthy huddled in the West Wing with Vice President Mike Pence, chief of Staff Reince Priebus, chief strategist Steve Bannon and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney. These individuals asked for anonymity in order to discuss private conversations. They also talked briefly with President Donald Trump.

As Daniel Horowitz points out, the conservative solution to pre-existing conditions and other problems of health insurance and health care access can be solved by making insurance portable, competitive, work more like life insurance, and lower the cost of health care itself with supply side reforms.

"We have in our timeline lots of flexibility built into it because we have to work with the United States Senate...so we have plenty of cushion built into our plans and we are well within that spectrum of timeline that we envisioned on dealing with the Obamacare legislation", the Speaker said in response to question.

I feel like a broken record, but here it is again: Force insurers to sell to consumers after they get sick, and consumers have nearly no incentive to buy insurance while they are still healthy. Members of the HFC have said, if the proposal is put in text, the majority of the group would vote for the measure.

I never expected the House of Representatives to vote this week on the new health care plan being floated by the Trump administration. "Should we be prepared to advance our bill through the House in the coming two weeks, we will advise Members immediately and give you sufficient time to return to Washington".

Huge roadblocks remain in the way of such a deal.

The majority of the House Freedom Caucus would vote for a healthcare bill that gets rid of three of ObamaCare's insurer regulations, the group's chairman, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), said Thursday. But there appears to be little appetite for doing that elsewhere in the House GOP.

Some moderate Republicans have taken the waiver approach to be about simply eliminating community rating or ending protections for people with pre-existing conditions. And the authors of this amendment will go into more detail.

However, high-risk pools have always been criticized for their hiccups, and the Republican amendment remains unclear on its specifics. To fund the high-risk pools under their bill, House Republicans have proposed providing states more than $100 billion in federal "stabilization" funds. Avalere Health president Dan Mendelson warns that the pools could become financially unviable, which happened to some prior to the passage of Obamacare.

The Republican bill has been stalled in the House for more than two weeks.

Speaker Paul Ryan said the provision would "lower premiums" for other, healthier people who buy individual health plans by shifting the risk of covering higher health-care users to the federal risk pool.

Information for this article was contributed by Robert Costa, Abby Phillip and Paul Kane of The Washington Post.

  • Zachary Reyes