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Paul Ryan Quashes Hope For Quick Second Try At Healthcare Bill

Tuesday, April 4, 2017 11:57
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(Before It's News)

Earlier this morning, we reported that “In An Aggressive Push, Trump Seeks Friday Passage Of Revised Healthcare Bill“, and has instructed Mike Pence to rattle the cages of both conservative and moderate Republicans, to see what the bid/ask difference is. Among the things the White House was willing to concede on: i) granting a waver to States from some, if not all, Obamacare insurance rules including the minimum benefits; and ii) a $115 billion “stability fund” for the states would be narrowed to be spent specifically on high-risk pools, as a form of coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.

Some expressed optimism that Trump’s renewed interest to pass Trump/Ryancare could take place as soon as this Friday, with Rep. Chris Collins adding “this could move fairly quickly.”

Freedom Caucus leaders said they’re open to the idea but want to see the legislative text, meanwhile White House officials were hoping to send the text to Capitol Hill as early as Tuesday night.

Or maybe not, because as Reuters reports, House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday poured cold water on expectations that after last month’s Republican failure to pass their own Healthcare bill, a quick deal to repeal and replace ObamaCare would not happen and declined to say whether the House would hold a vote by the end of the week. As The Hill adds, his remarks followed a flurry of meetings between Vice President Mike Pence, other top White House officials, the Tuesday Group of centrists and the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus.

“These are ongoing talks. We want our members to talk with each other about how we can improve the bill to get consensus. Those productive talks are happening. We’re at the concept stages right now,” Ryan told reporters after a closed-door meeting with Republicans earlier. “So right now, we’re just at that conceptual stage about how to move forward in a way we can get everybody to 216 [votes]. … It’s premature to say where we are or what we’re on because we’re at that conceptual stage.”

We don’t have a bill text or an agreement, but these are the kinds of conversations we want — all the various caucus members, the administration, those productive kinds of conversations are happening right now,” Ryan said. “It’s all about getting the premiums down.

The House breaks for a two-week spring recess at the end of the week, creating a sense of urgency for Republicans who don’t want to return to their districts and face constituents without a healthcare victory. At least two Republicans stood up during Tuesday’s GOP conference meeting and told leadership the House should delay its recess until it passes a health bill, sources in the room said.

But when asked if there will be a health vote by the end of the week, Ryan said he didn’t know.

“I don’t want to put some kind of artificial deadline because we’re at that conceptual stage,” Ryan said. “We have very productive conversations occurring with our members. But those are productive conversations; it doesn’t mean we have language and text that’s ready to go and the votes are lined up.”


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