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Published: Thu, April 06, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

White House officials offer change to health care bill


Rep. Mo BrooksMo BrooksCentrists push back on new ObamaCare repeal plan Support House Resolution 37: Eliminate the USA trade deficit Paul Ryan sells out conservatives with healthcare surrender MORE (R-Ala.), a member of the Freedom Caucus, said he was assured that the Trump administration would be "very receptive" to granting states waivers from the regulations.

The Trump administration and Republican lawmakers plan to continue their uphill effort to exhume the House GOP's health care bill, but remain adrift and divided over how to reshape it to attract enough votes to muscle it through the chamber. Vice President Mike Pence and two top White House officials made the offer Monday night in a closed-door meeting with members of the House Freedom Caucus.

New York Rep. Chris Collins, a member of the relatively moderate Tuesday Group and a close ally of President Trump, was in high spirits as he spun the compromise to reporters Tuesday morning outside a House GOP meeting.

Even if the bill survives a House vote-which White House officials have said could happen as early as this week-the Trump administration is sure to face an uphill battle in the Senate, where Republicans have a slim 52 to 48 margin.

Conversations on a pathway forward have continued to pick up over the last week, and they have focused nearly entirely on picking up members of the House Freedom Caucus - the chamber's most conservative wing of the GOP. Pence then went to Capitol Hill to meet the Freedom Caucus, a group of House conservatives who last month derailed a healthcare bill backed by President Donald Trump.

Webster said he had met last night with Speaker Ryan about his nursing home bed issue; a similar chat did not produce any results back in March, when the GOP bill foundered in the House - Webster said he hoped this time it would be different.

Under the current White House proposal, states could apply for a federal waiver from a provision in Obama's law that obliges insurers to cover 'essential health benefits, ' including mental health, maternity and substance abuse services.

Republicans spent seven years campaigning on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, and many are not ready to accept that initial defeat as the final word. An issue as complex as health care clearly deserves more than 17 days of hasty discussion.

"I think really their opinion right now is to see if they still want to just keep working with what they have, and we'll see". The pathetic remnants of the moderate Republicans (the Tuesday Group) suddenly found relevance as their votes were needed, and demanded less draconian cuts in benefits and subsidies. The Wisconsin Republican said he believed his party was moving toward consensus but conceded he didn't know if the House would vote on the measure before beginning a two-week recess later this week. The group's leader, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said talks were boiling down to curbing several of Obama's coverage requirements - a far cry from the full repeal of the statute that many initially preferred.

How far health care discussions have actually gotten among Republicans.

When asked about timeline, Meadows demurred saying only that he didn't want to put an "artificial" deadline on the process.

The lack of a resolution complicates a White House push for a House vote on a healthcare proposal before Friday, when lawmakers return to their districts for two weeks.

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. Conservatives assert this would increase "choice" for consumers, while opponents say it would leave many people with insufficient coverage.

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.

"I think there's a lot of movement", said Rep. Dan Webster (R-FL).

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