Saturday, 23 June, 2018

Deal doubtful on new GOP health plan; could raise premiums

Orlando Vargas | 08 April, 2017, 00:24

In a blistering call on Wednesday morning, Michael Needham, who leads Heritage Action for America - one of the most prominent outside groups that had been opposed to the AHCA - laid the blame for the latest stumbles at the feet of moderate House Republicans, who are part of a coalition known as the Tuesday Group.

From the party's right flank, Freedom Caucus member Rep. Mark Sanford of SC said: "I've heard nothing of substance at this point that would break the logjam". "We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018", Trump tweeted.

When pressed on what those offers would look like, Meadows stayed quiet only stating that some of the caucus's objectives included "making sure that preexisting issues continue to stay protected, making sure that healthcare is affordable". He said the hardline conservative Freedom Caucus have "moved the goalposts" and blew up hopes of a compromise.

"If we don't do that, we will have failed", said Meadows.

"The Freedom Caucus is still working to improve the bill, we appreciate that". Yet when the Freedom Caucus tried to push a 2015 bill that had once received unanimous Republican support, the party was not willing to put it before President Trump.

According to Needham, the White House presented conservatives with a plan on Monday that they would have accepted.

He said the hard-line conservative House Freedom Caucus was "moving the goal posts" for negotiations, risking potential support from moderate Republicans.

"Jordan's pledge followed a Saturday tweet by President Donald Trump's social media director, Dan Scavino Jr., who said Trump "is bringing auto plants & jobs back to MI", and Amash is a "big liability", urging "#TrumpTrain, defeat him in primary".

Chris Collins, a moderate Trump ally from NY, said resignedly that the ball is in the court of the Freedom Caucus, a coalition of arch conservative legislators who didn't support the initial Republican healthcare proposal.

No Democrat was going to vote for the Republican health care bill.

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Their inability to even substantively dig in on the key outstanding issues, at least in a way where they start chopping away at the areas of disagreement, "tells you all you need to know about this meeting", one participant said.

"This brings us closer to the final agreement that we all want to achieve", Ryan told reporters.

Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, chairman of the House Rules Committee, said it was unrealistic to think that the bill could be resurrected in a matter of days following significant changes. “I really dont think they can get this done, ” he said.

Meadows called it "highly inappropriate" for Trump's White House social media director, Dan Scavino, Jr.to publicly urge a GOP primary opponent for Freedom Caucus member Justin Amash of MI.

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and others expressed unhappiness that the legislation remained unfinished, and the fanfare accompanying the amendment introduced today was a direct result of that meeting, the Republicans said.

"We've been giving", Meadows said Tuesday before the meeting.

The new language was aimed at containing premiums by providing an additional $15 billion over a decade to help insurers cover the costs of seriously ill people, said Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., a sponsor of the amendment. As it turns out, neither the White House, nor Republicans, and House of Representatives want to give up on their plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

But House Speaker Paul Ryan echoed the sentiments of the House Freedom Caucus members, speaking at a WisPolitics event in Washington, according to the Washington Examiner.

Speaker Ryan told reporters he found the meeting to be "very productive" saying they'd set no deadline to come to a deal, contra to the media narrative suggesting Republicans must move quickly. "And so when you hear that you want a deal, you're willing to latch onto whatever is most important to you, and that's just human nature". "It goes counter to the promises of more than 200 members of the House", said McHenry.

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