White House, lawmakers adrift over reviving health bill

House Republicans indicated Wednesday that they would leave Washington this week without passing their stalled health-care bill, spurning a spirited White House effort to revive the legislation amid a fresh round of intraparty finger-pointing.

From the party's right flank, Freedom Caucus member Rep. Mark Sanford of SC said: "I've heard nothing of substance at this point that would break the logjam". When the 2018 mid-term elections get closer, they could encounter highly energized Democrats and independents who turn out to vote against them based on their unpopular healthcare bill. He said he would have preferred having the House hold hearings featuring industry experts discussing the potential impact of the legislation.

Jordan said he and other Freedom Caucus members will assist Amash if he has a primary opponent, as wil many conservative groups.

With hard issues such as tax reform looming, Ryan said one takeaway from the failure to find consensus among different GOP factions on health care is that, "We have to talk things out much, much, much more thoroughly". "Planned Parenthood should have been dealt with a couple years ago. we think that's going to be dealt with in the healthcare bill".

The conference is still working through disagreements about how to handle some of Obamacare's regulations - a major sticking point that emerged after the bill's dramatic collapse.

The House Freedom Caucus (HFC) is signaling its willingness to throw support behind Republicans' newest plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. Bannon has echoed these calls for action and was one of the most vocal players in pushing for a contentious floor vote in the hours before the legislation was initially shelved, believing that only a "foot on the throat" of House Republicans would get them to fall in line, according to one person close to Bannon. Originally, the new White House plan called for eliminating almost all the so-called Title 1 insurance regulations under the ACA.

"It just doesn't bode well for tax reform", said Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), as the top ally of President Trump in the Congress blasted more conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus, and openly wondered whether that same group would find a way not to support a Trump tax reform bill.

So the debate is back at the same dividing lines that stunted Trumpcare the first time around: Conservatives want to roll back as much of Obamacare as they can, but moderates are concerned about the consequences of doing so. Black chairs the House Budget Committee and was at Tuesday's meeting. Lower insurance premiums, Meadows said, "has been, will be, always will be" the primary objective.

"To somehow try to transfer this obstructionism to us governing members, to me, is just a sign that maybe they may have overplayed their hand, and I think they're feeling the ramifications of that", he said.

Meadows called it "highly inappropriate" for Trump's White House social media director, Dan Scavino, Jr.to publicly urge a GOP primary opponent for Freedom Caucus member Justin Amash of MI.

They're also facing concerns among rank-and-file House Republicans that they have essentially been sidelined from the negotiations - particularly members of the two committees that wrote the bill.

Yet it wasn't clear after another late-night meeting on Tuesday with Pence and a broader group of Republicans that the White House is committed to structuring the waiver in a way that conservatives say would bring down the price of premiums, according to one of the aides.

"We've been giving", Meadows said Tuesday before the meeting.

Republican lawmakers have said efforts are focused on maintaining Obamacare's essential health benefits, such as mental health coverage and maternity care. "We're going home. without a deal".

Freedom Caucus members insist they're open to the proposal put on the table by Pence and Mulvaney.

Speaker Ryan told reporters he found the meeting to be "very productive" saying they'd set no deadline to come to a deal, contra to the media narrative suggesting Republicans must move quickly.

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