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New Life for Obamacare Repeal? White House Resumes Negotiations With House GOP

by Countable | 4.4.17

The Trump administration is trying to breathe new life into efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare), though it remains to be seen whether reluctant Republicans can be persuaded.

Vice President Mike Pence joined other White House officials in meeting with conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus and moderate Republicans from the Tuesday Group on Monday to present an idea that they hope will revive GOP efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. Talks had stalled after a lack of support caused House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to cancel a vote on the American Health Care Act in the House in late March.

The new proposal, which wasn’t presented as a formal draft, would let states seek federal waivers exempting them from two of Obamacare’s health insurance mandates — the essential health benefits mandate and the community rating mandate. The essential health benefits mandate requires health insurance plans to cover certain treatments, such as maternity care, prescription drugs and substance abuse, while the community rating mandate requires insurers to charge the same price to everyone who is the same age, regardless of their health.

While members of both the Freedom Caucus and Tuesday Group expressed guarded optimism that a deal could unify House Republicans, there’s no timeline yet for when a revised healthcare bill could come up for a vote. Lawmakers who attended the meetings declined to impose "artificial deadlines" on reaching an agreement, but said a deal could be reached this week and that some members be willing to work through part of the upcoming two-week recess to get a bill passed.

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— Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: David Maiolo / Creative Commons)

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