The Republicans’ failed attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act may be revived in some form, as talks on healthcare have resumed in the House of Representatives—though nothing concrete has emerged so far.
Members of the House Freedom Caucus, one of the primary factions responsible for sinking the American Health Care Act, said Tuesday that they’re working with Republican leadership and more moderate party members to resurrect a new version of the healthcare bill, according to an article from USA Today.
TRUMP: "What's going to come out of this is a better [health care] bill."— House Freedom Caucus (@freedomcaucus) March 24, 2017
The Freedom Caucus looks forward to working with him.
Those present at the meeting felt that the discussions were productive, Freedom Caucus member Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas, told reporters.
“People think ‘the Freedom Caucus owes us an explanation’—by golly the Freedom Caucus stood up and said ‘OK here’s where we were, here’s why we were where we were,’” Weber said. “We stayed until the very end and leadership told me today, 'We noticed that you stayed.'”
The House meeting comes on the heels of the White House revealing that it’s not done with healthcare, either. Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Monday that “we’ve got an agenda to continue to pursue” and that President Donald Trump would be willing to work with "responsible" Democrats on the issue.
Critics of the plan, though, are calling it “Zombie Trumpcare,” a moniker coined by digital news outlet Axios and even mentioned in a tweet by former Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Andy Slavitt.
This is the beginning of the Zombie Trumpcare movie https://t.co/I5ece6NbXQ— Axios (@axios) March 29, 2017
Indeed, lawmakers and aides in Congress are not hopeful that Republicans will succeed at bringing an ACA repeal back from the dead, as party members are still deeply divided on what they would like to see in a healthcare bill, according to an article from Politico. More moderate Republicans vented in a meeting Monday night about the Freedom Caucus’ efforts to impede the ACA repeal and replace effort, with some legislators calling for punishing their peers who don’t “play with the team.”
Even though more moderate party members and leadership are frustrated with the stalled attempt at a repeal, leaders at Monday’s meeting stressed unity as the best way to move forward, according to the article.
Senate Republicans are less-than-enthusiastic about resurrecting healthcare discussions, however, the Associated Press reported. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered a more measured take after a lunch with fellow Republicans and Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday.
"It's pretty obvious we were not able, in the House, to pass a replacement. Our Democratic friends ought to be pretty happy about that because we have the existing law in place, and I think we're just going to have to see how that works out," McConnell said. "We believe it will not work out well, but we'll see."
White House legislative affairs director Marc Short also told the AP after Tuesday's lunch that the Trump administration is moving on from healthcare, despite the president’s pledge to the opposite.