The Trump administration is hoping for Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare within the president’s first 100 days, leaving lawmakers just days to come to an agreement to meet the White House’s goal.
Members left for their two-week Easter recess earlier this month having failed to reach a consensus on repeal legislation. In the wake of leadership pulling the American Health Care Act off the floor due to a lack of votes in March, members from the difference factions of the administration — with the help of top administration officials — have renewed their negotiation efforts in an attempt to reach a compromise they can all support. It appears members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and moderates in the Tuesday Group are in the final stages of striking a deal.
Multiple sources on Saturday’s House GOP conference call confirmed the House Committee on Energy and Commerce working to assist with language on an amendment brokered between HFC Chairman Mark Meadows and Tuesday Group Co-Chairman Tom MacArthur, which is expected to make substantial changed to the bill.
The text is expected to allow states to waive out of a number of Obamacare’s Title I regulations, which conservatives argue is the only way to bring premiums down in a meaningful way, while ensuring those with preexisting conditions remain covered.
House Republicans are said to be discussing the changes with members of the Senate to ensure the bill will easily pass both chambers.
With the House Budget Committee expected to unveil its 2018 budget, which is slated to include reconciliation instructions for tax reform, sometime in May, members are feeling the pressure to move on the 2017 budget being used to repeal the Affordable Care Act. If they fail to come together on the measure, it will make health-care reform exponentially more difficult since the reconciliation bill allows them to pass the measure with just a simple majority in the Senate.
While it appears progress is being made, a vote has yet to be scheduled upon Congress’ return Tuesday.
It remains unclear whether the changes will sway enough members to give leadership the votes needed for the measure to pass.
President Donald Trump has said if Republicans fail to reach a consensus, he hasn’t ruled out working across the aisle on health care reform.