Trump hits golf course to talk healthcare with Rand Paul


05 April, 2017

The fallout from the failed effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act continues to divide and confuse congressional Republicans.

Under the White House proposal, states could apply for a federal waiver from a provision in Obama's statute obliging insurers to cover "essential health benefits", including mental health, maternity and substance abuse services. They want to lower tax rates for individuals and corporations, and make up the lost revenue by scaling back tax breaks.

But there was no evidence that the proposal won over any GOP opponents who'd forced Trump and party leaders to beat an unceremonious retreat on their bill on March 24, when they canceled a House vote that was doomed to failure.

It's hard to know exactly how high premiums for people with pre-existing conditions could go if this emerging plan were somehow to become law, particularly since right now the "plan" is really just some concepts Republicans are discussing.

Centrist Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.) indicated he is still a "no" on the healthcare bill and warned against allowing sick people to be charged more. During the campaign, he said he would not sign a bill that denied coverage to those needing it.

"Obviously we're driving the train on this", White House press secretary Sean Spicer said.

Paul was highly critical of the House leadership-backed Obamacare repeal plan, which was pulled off the floor due to a lack of votes.

It was unclear, however, whether GOP moderates would accept the proposed changes. He noted efforts to attract conservatives have ended up alienating moderates, while efforts to attract moderates have pushed away conservatives. Trump at one point said the House border tax is too complicated, then said it's in the mix.

Mining a southern expression, Walker said the process is like "squeezing blood out of a turnip".

"We'll see what they sort through", said Rep.

Vice President Mike Pence was just as explicit. He was set to meet with the leaders of different House GOP factions on Tuesday night.

Monday's meetings followed a storm of tweets from President Trump last week, who blamed the Freedom Caucus for killing the AHCA.

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After meeting Pence, Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said his group was "intrigued" by the idea of giving give states more flexibility to opt out of Obamacare regulations using a waiver process, but Meadows wouldn't promise the Freedom Caucus would be on board in the end.

The details of the proposal will be crucial.

President Donald Trump has tweeted threats of opposing their re-elections in 2018, and fellow House Republicans have accused them of inflexibility that led to the downfall of the bill to replace "Obamacare", a top GOP legislative priority.

"It is wrong to require the states to come to Washington, D.C., on bended knee", Brooks said.

"I would rather trust the states", he said.

Now those House conservatives are telling HuffPost's Matt Fuller, and others, that they are close to a new deal.

I want everybody to understand that.

Still, MacArthur was already a "yes" on the bill. "I'm still a no", Dent told reporters.

The two key issues: repeal of Essential Health Benefits and repeal of the existing community ratings provision.

The biggest problem with the Affordable Care Act, according to experts, is the exchanges, where people without insurance or who are not getting coverage from Medicaid can buy affordable coverage from insurance companies. In effect, this is a backdoor way of eliminating the ACA's ban on discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions.

There is not now a bill or specific policy proposal that has grown out of these discussions.

He said he hoped Republicans would unite behind a new plan. "But I don't necessarily think that's an advisable path to winning votes".

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