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For Better Or Worse, Trump And GOP Now Own Health Care

For Better Or Worse, Trump And GOP Now Own Health Care

House Republicans are proposing a last-minute change to their health bill that would pay back insurers who cover sick, expensive patients, an update that's essentially a less-generous version of a program under Obamacare.

In this Saturday, April 1, 2017, photo, Vice President Mike Pence speaks at DynaLab, Inc.in Reynoldsburg, Ohio.

No timeline or specific changes have been unveiled from the new rounds of party discussions, although White House officials talked up progress inside the Republican Party on resuscitating the GOP health care bill Wednesday.

White House officials and leading legislators aimed to resume talks Wednesday.

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.

"If we don't do that, we will have failed", said Meadows. The plan comes after the March 24 death in the House of the GOP's American Health Care Act (also known as Trumpcare), which did not garner enough support to pass - particularly among many members of the conservative Freedom Caucus.

The lack of progress frustrated some Republicans almost two weeks after House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, was forced to pull the American Health Care Act from the House floor - a major setback for President Trump and Republicans in Congress.

"This brings us closer to the final agreement that we all want to achieve", House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said of the new amendment, flanked by about two dozen GOP lawmakers at a news briefing meant to project unity.

Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) said that he enjoys "whenever he spends time with us, and he's been doing that a lot lately". Congress leaves town in days for a two-week recess, when lawmakers could face antagonistic grilling from voters at town hall meetings and the entire GOP drive might lose momentum. Late on Monday, the White House suggesteda new health care plan that allows states to opt out of more Obamacare provisions. The current version of the GOP legislation would erase that coverage requirement but let states reimpose it themselves, language that is opposed by numerous party's moderates.

Pelosi suggested that Republicans in Congress were aware of what they could get passed, her only fear was White House meddling. Conservatives have argued that such restrictions inflate consumer costs.

"Now there's real bullets", said Rep. David Brat.

Those assurances, however, came even as larger divisions over the bill's content appeared to remain.

Here's the problem: The Freedom Caucus wants to gut as much of Obamacare's reforms as they can.

But health care industry consultant Robert Laszewski said it would also open a "back door" to a system where the sick can get priced out of coverage.

"I think the Tuesday Group is trying to get there, I think a good bit of the Freedom Caucus guys are trying to get there, but it just takes a couple of either group to spin this thing sideways", he said.

Embarrassed and frustrated by last month's collapse of their effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, conservatives this week launched a last-ditch effort to revive the legislation.

Last month, Caucus members voted against the American Health Care Act (AHCA), saying it did nothing to lower insurance premiums.

And although a plurality of those polled (49 percent) say Trump and congressional Republicans should "stop working on health care and move on to other priorities", a full three-quarters of Republicans say they should "keep working on a plan to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law".

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