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Republicans float health care compromise ahead of Trump's 100-day mark

21 April 2017

The MacArthur amendment tries to shore up moderate support for the bill by reinstating the health-care law's so-called "essential health benefits", a list of federally-mandated health services that marketplace plans must cover. And the vice president believes American voters will be able to pinpoint accomplishments as it reflects on the administration's first 100 days. However, they cannot discriminate based on gender or age - older persons could still be charged up to five times more than young people, instead of the 3-to-1 ration in place now - or someone's health status. To get those waivers, states would need to have high-risk pools - government-backed insurance for the most seriously ill people, a mechanism that has often failed for lack of sufficient financing. Greg Walden of OR and Leonard Lance of New Jersey, made it clear to people in their respective town hall meetings that they oppose any effort to remove the current protections for people with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes and cancer.

The proposed changes from Meadows and MacArthur attempt to reconcile the differences between conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus and centrist Republicans.

"As of now, the broader conference is not aware of what the new health care blueprint is, suggesting that things are very much in the air".

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Without the full language it's unclear whether the plan could bring in enough votes to pass, says a senior House Republican aide.

Conservatives said the plan didn't combat the rising cost of premiums, while centrists anxious sick patients would be deprived of access to affordable, quality health insurance. At the minimum, it looks like Congress will buy some more time by passing a stopgap funding bill, effectively extending the shutdown deadline. I'm confident we're going to get there mainly because the president literally not only wants to repeal and replace Obamacare, but the other part of that is he wants to drive down premiums for all Americans.

A Republican member familiar with the negotiations expressed some skepticism that the Freedom Caucus can actually deliver the votes they are promising. "I know you don't think that", an exasperated Walden said at one point. "I happen to like and respect [HHS Secretary] Tom Price immensely, but that doesn't mean the next person will share that same approbation from me".

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For Sanford Health Plan, which operates in the North and South Dakota individual exchanges, its leaders have been combing through media reports and social media for clues about what's going on, The Wall Street Journal reports. The White House has floated several ideas for getting that revenue, including a carbon tax and a value-added tax (VAT); neither previously has had much Republican support.

Eager for a legislative victory before President Trump hits his 100th day, White House officials and Republican lawmakers plan another health care showdown next week as they seek to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

Although a federal judge ruled that the Affordable Care Act did not authorize the White House to make payments without congressional appropriation or permission, after a successful legal challenge by House Republicans, the same judge also said that the administration could still make payments to Obamacare while the decision was up for appeal.

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Ryan, too, said his conference continues to make progress on a plan. Frank Palllone Jr. (D-6th Dist.), who is leading the fight against the GOP bill in the House, have said they are amenable to amending the Affordable Care Act but not to repeal it.

Republicans float health care compromise ahead of Trump's 100-day mark