Key White House officials have made overtures to Republicans in Congress in an attempt to give the party’s failed effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act another try.
Officials including Vice President Mike Pence and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus met with members of the House Freedom Caucus Monday, the Associated Press reported. The caucus played a major role in the American Health Care Act's failure, as members felt the bill the did not do enough to dismantle the ACA.
Talks on Repealing and Replacing ObamaCare are, and have been, going on, and will continue until such time as a deal is hopefully struck.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 2, 2017
The White House is offering a potential compromise in hopes of uniting the disparate goals of the Freedom Caucus and more moderate members of the party, who want to keep Medicaid protections in place to please constituents, according to the AP. Under their proposal, states would be allowed to opt out of coverage requirements in the ACA, including rules that insurers cannot deny coverage to people who have preexisting conditions.
Caucus members want to see the deal in writing before moving forward, which could happen as early as today, according to the AP. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., the caucus’ chairman, told the outlet that it was a “good meeting” but that there is “no deal in principle” at present.
In a meeting with the more moderate Tuesday Group on Monday, Trump administration officials offered to keep the ACA’s essential health benefits in their replacement healthcare bill, but to allow states to apply for waivers if they can show that an exemption would improve coverage and reduce costs, according to an article from Reuters. Trump aides also proposed redirecting funds from the previously proposed $115 billion state stability fund to high-risk pools designed to bring down insurance premiums.
Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., a member of the group and a close Trump ally, said the GOP’s second crack at healthcare could “move very quickly.” The meetings and efforts to strike a compromise show that the White House is trying to better reach the party’s different factions, he said.
"It's an acknowledgement that they were chasing votes with the Freedom Caucus and the far right and then ended up losing votes with those of us who are typically the most reliable votes," Collins said of the White House’s proposals.
Meadows has also suggested that the Republicans’ second attempt at healthcare reform could move quickly, according to The Washington Post. A vote has not been scheduled, but he suggested that the effort could come together this week, and he said he’s willing to delay Congress’ recess to hold a vote.
Meanwhile, as the GOP continues to debate behind the scenes on next steps, Democrats are hoping to salvage the original failed effort to push constituents to resist changes to the ACA, according to an article from The Wall Street Journal. Democrats are hopeful that increased public support for the ACA in the wake of calls to repeal and replace the law will put pressure on the Trump administration to avoid another quagmire on healthcare.