Future of revamped health care bill remains dubious in House
"The question is whether it can get 216 votes in the House and the answer isn't clear at this time", a senior GOP aide said, referring to the number of votes needed to bypass support from Democrats. "This will be done in 2017, that is our time line, we would like to get it done as soon as possible", Ryan told reporters during a visit to London that was part of a multi-nation trip aimed at strengthening USA economic and security ties with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.
In a nod to GOP moderates, the deal would reinstate the essential health benefits requirements previously nixed from the American Health Care Act, though states would be allowed to waive those requirements if they met certain conditions, according to a copy of the amendment obtained by Politico.
Though members of Congress spent last week at home in their districts, over the weekend White House sources suggested that Republicans were making progress on health care reform.
The GOP tug-of-war tanked Republicans' first repeal-and-replace bill, leaving President Trump reaching for a legislative win in the first 100 days of his presidency. The Staten Island centrist said he remained a no vote, partly because the legislation would increase Medicaid costs for New York City's five boroughs.
The rush comes days before Congress returns to Capitol Hill and is an attempt to unite the GOP behind House Speaker Paul Ryan's embattled American Health Care Act.
Some proposed changes to the Obamacare repeal bill were circulating among members, including an amendment co-sponsored by Representative Tom MacArthur, a New Jersey Republican and co-chairman of a group of House moderates.
But, there also is the very real possibility that we are looking at deja vu all over again for House Republicans and the Trump White House. 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. 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.
For instance, states could choose to put people with pre-existing conditions in "high-risk pools".
Many Freedom Caucus members said they did not support the bill because it did not do enough to dismantle Obamacare.
The Virginia Republican said that the Freedom Caucus is "still waiting on the official text" of the deal, but claimed that "we have language" to address both lowering premiums and coverage for pre-existing conditions.
Still, it's unclear whether concessions made by the Freedom Caucus and Tuesday Group will bring more rank-and-file Republicans on board with the healthcare bill-or alienate more of them.
But House GOP leaders face the same problem that's plagued them for seven years of trying to concoct a plan for repealing Obama's 2010 law: The party's conservatives and moderates are at odds over how to do it.
With Democrats solidly opposed, Republicans can lose no more than 21 House votes to prevail, and Mr Ryan short-circuited a planned vote last month because more than that would have defected.
Who cares? Without the health care bill, Republicans can still pass any tax bill they want with a ten-year expiration.
Mr Ryan sent a mixed message about the bill's prospects in remarks on Wednesday to reporters in London.