Republicans are making one final effort to move forward with their plan to reform the US healthcare system before Congress goes on a two-week break.
The House Rules Committee will reportedly consider an amendment to the American Health Care Act to fund high-risk pools in states in an attempt to show progress on the GOP’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare before the House goes on a two week recess starting Friday.
The full AHCA is not expected to move to the House floor.
Bloomberg’s Jennifer Jacobs and Billy House reported that the move on high-risk pools represents an attempt to show some progress on the healthcare bill after months of setbacks and an inability of House Republicans to come to a consensus on the details of their healthcare overhaul.
High-risk pools have long been a target for House Republicans, and passing the amendment would show some consensus before the Easter break.
The pools separate individuals with preexisting conditions into a separate risk pool from healthier people. It brings down costs for people without ailments and could improve losses for insurers. Critics of the plan say many states had high-risk pools before the Affordable Care Act and the costs were so high that few people enrolled in them. In order to solve this issue, they say, the federal government would have to massively subsidise the costs for people in these pools.
The move comes the day after a meeting at the White House between House GOP leaders and members of the Trump administration over the failed attempts to get the AHCA passed through the lower chamber.
The Washington Post’s Robert Costa reported that the meeting between White House officials including Vice President Mike Pence, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and House leaders including Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was tense.
According to Costa, Pence demanded action on healthcare and the meeting was “at times heated.”
Pence, Priebus and, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney have been working with lawmakers to iron out details in the AHCA that would get enough members onboard to pass the bill. The AHCA was pulled minutes before a House vote last month after disagreements between the conservative House Freedom Caucus and moderate members left the bill short of the needed votes to pass
Talks between the conservative and moderate wings of the GOP House conference ave not yielded any common group on regulations. Conservatives still wants a repeal of regulations such as essential health benefits and community ratings, which moderates say would allow people with preexisting conditions to be charged exorbitant insurance premiums.
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