“You know, there was never a give-up”, Trump continued, apparently referring to Republicans’ failed effort in late March to pass the American Health Care Act through the House. Lawmakers are expected to discuss the issue in a conference call Saturday. Democrats have signaled they would not cooperate if it contains money for one of Trump’s top priorities, a southwestern border wall meant to combat illegal immigration, or if it ends federal subsidies to help low-income people buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, which Republicans want to repeal. But at a news conference on Thursday, Trump said “the plan gets better and better and better, and it’s gotten really, really good, and a lot of people are liking it a lot”, adding he thinks the House can pass that as well as a spending bill. He cited the difficulty Democrats faced when trying to pass Obamacare.
“When it explodes, [Democrats] come to us and we make one attractive deal“, Trump said.
Later in the day, Bloomberg reported that House GOP leaders were balking at a White House push for a quick vote on the legislation when Congress returns from recess on Tuesday.
“The question is whether it can get 216 votes in the House, and the answer isn’t clear at this time”, said a senior GOP aide.
And ‘there is no legislative text, ‘ the aide said, ‘and therefore no agreement to do a whip count on’.
However, GOP aides told CNBC they doubted a vote could happen as soon as Wednesday, which is what the White House wants.
MacArthur sought to draw attention Thursday to the discussions.
Moreover, while the bill putatively preserves the ban on denying people coverage for pre-existing conditions, which President Trump has repeatedly pledged to protect, most people would agree that this provision isn’t worth much if insurers can charge sick people any amount.
Democrats pushed back on the proposal.
Republican leaders and the White House have been searching for a health-care agreement that could placate enough moderates and hard-line conservatives to win passage in the House. Five days to pass a spending bill, The Washington Post adds, is “a tight timeline under the most generous of circumstance that would be almost impossible to meet if House leaders also try to force a vote on the repeal legislation”.
Trump directed his administration Thursday to expedite a just-launched investigation into whether steel imports are jeopardizing USA national security, saying, “This is not an area where we can afford to become dependent on other countries”.
“We’re very close”, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said a day earlier at an event in London.
What remains to be seen is how the break from regular congressional activity might have changed the attitudes of some members. One phrase in particular from the description on MacArthur’s own Facebook page is worth considering (italics mine): “States have the option to obtain a waiver from some federal standards, but the state must attest that its objective is to reduce the cost of health care or increase the number of people with health care coverage”. The conservative Club for Growth launched a second round of attack ads last week on GOP members who it says are opposed to proposed changes to the repeal measure.
“We’re doing very well on healthcare”, he said at a joint press conference with Italian prime minister Pauolo Gentiloni.
The House is now embattled in a lawsuit with the Trump administration over the payments. Ryan has said the administration should continue to pay out the subsidies while the lawsuit is ongoing, but President Donald Trump has not committed to providing them and alluded to using the payments as a tool to bring Democrats to the negotiating table.
A one-page description of the plan, dated April 13 and first published by Politico on Thursday, suggests the waivers would be easy to obtain – a key selling point for members of the hardline House Freedom Caucus, which has pushed to deregulate the insurance market for people who don’t hold insurance from a job or government program and buy it on their own.
“Your action is critical to the viability and stability of the individual health insurance markets in a significant number of states across the country”, the group wrote.