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Republicans consider deal on health-care bill

21 Avril 2017

President Donald Trump touted progress as top House Republicans may be nearing a significant breakthrough on efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare, one month after a Republican health care bill was pulled from the House floor.

"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 told Politico. If I say the bill is getting way better and that lots of people like it, I'll create a self-fulfilling prophecy and build some actual momentum for the legislation when Congress comes back next week.

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.

House Republicans have a conference call scheduled for Saturday where members will be briefed on the latest health care and government funding developments.

At issue are cost-sharing payments that are a key subsidy under the health care law to help low-income people enrolled through the law's insurance marketplaces with their out-of-pocket expenses.

GOP leaders on Capitol Hill are eager to avert a shutdown, and the slow pace may make it necessary to enact another temporary spending bill to avert a shutdown next weekend.

When House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows confidently told reporters last week that Republicans were "growing closer to a consensus" on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, many eyebrows were raised.

It measure taking shape would deliver a win to moderates by amending the GOP bill to restore Obama's requirement that insurers cover specified services like maternity care. One phrase in particular from the description on MacArthur's own Facebook page is worth considering (italics mine): "States have the option to obtain a waiver from some federal standards, but the state must attest that its goal is to reduce the cost of health care or increase the number of people with health care coverage".

States would be able to set up high risk pools for the most costly people to insure with the goal of bringing down the cost of insurance for healthier individuals.

If states requested waivers, people with pre-existing conditions would likely be covered through state-run high-risk pools, which can be expensive for patients and for taxpayers.

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GOP leaders recognize that members on the far right side of the Republican caucus are likely to oppose nearly any spending bill so they are not counting on support from many members of the Freedom Caucus.

The proposal aims to increase the approval by Freedom Caucus members and moderate members of Congress.

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.

In an interview Thursday with The Associated Press, budget chief Mick Mulvaney said he was surprised at "the toxicity levels" that have divided the GOP over health care and hoped lawmakers' two-week break would prove "healing".

The failure in March to pass an earlier replacement bill for the Affordable Care Act, amid widespread criticism of the plan, marked a major setback for Trump's early presidency.

Ryan said Wednesday in London that Republicans are putting the "finishing touches" on the new health care proposal.

"It's hard to do".

"I believe that when we first go back, that's going to be the thing we'll address immediately and have to get done by Friday", said Rep. Dan Donovan, R-N.Y. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.

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