White House officials offer change to health care bill

White House officials offer change to health care bill

WASHINGTON — White House officials made a new offer to conservative House Republicans late Monday on the GOP’s failed health care bill, hoping to resuscitate a measure that crashed spectacularly less than two weeks ago.

Vice-President Mike Pence and two top White House officials made the offer in a closed-door meeting with members of the House Freedom Caucus, according to a participant. Opposition from the hard-line group, which has around three dozen conservative Republicans, contributed to circumstances that forced House Speaker Paul Ryan to withdraw the bill from a March 24 vote that would have produced a certain defeat.

Under the White House offer, states would be allowed to apply for waivers from several coverage requirements that President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law imposed on insurers.

These include an Affordable Care Act provision prohibiting insurance companies from declining to write policies for people with serious diseases. Conservatives have argued that such requirements have the effect of inflating insurance costs.

Freedom Caucus members said they wanted to see the White House offer in writing — which is expected Tuesday — before deciding whether to accept it.

Also at Monday’s meeting were White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and budget director Mick Mulvaney. The participant spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the private strategy session.

Another participant — Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C. — said the group would make no decisions until it reviews the language but called the session a “good meeting” in a text message.

But Meadows also said, “There is no deal in principle” at this time.

It was unclear whether GOP moderates would accept the proposed changes. When Ryan, R-Wis., pulled the legislation from the House last month, he also faced opposition from moderate GOP lawmakers upset that it went too far with cuts in Medicaid coverage for the poor and higher premiums for many low earners and people in their 50s and 60s.

Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., a leader of the moderate House Tuesday Group, was among moderate lawmakers who met with officials at the White House on Monday, a GOP aide said.

The Freedom Caucus has drawn the most wrath from the White House for its opposition to the bill. Some fellow House Republicans have also criticized members of the conservative group, accusing them of inflexibility that led to the downfall of the bill to replace “Obamacare,” a top GOP legislative priority.

Six days after the House bill crashed, Trump tweeted that the Freedom Caucus “will hurt the entire Republican agenda” if they don’t start co-operating. He added, “We must fight them” in 2018, a reference to their re-election campaigns.

Several caucus members, who tend to represent safely Republican districts, tweeted back defiantly. But some have stressed a desire to move the legislation along if provisions are added that they believe would contain insurance costs.

Alan Fram, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Vancouver Island homeowners buy more earthquake insurance than the rest of B.C.

Insurance Bureau of Canada says that’s because the perception of risk is greater on the Island

District of Oak Bay issues notice to cease tent city

The notice is effective immediately

‘Leaning tower’ rental building proposed for downtown Victoria

The building would offer 93 residential units targeted at young professionals

Anxiety amongst voters on amalgamation referendum

Non-binding referendum asks Victoria and Saanich residents to endorse citizens’ assembly

Lisa Helps campaigners target downtown Victoria bikes for election ads

Flyers were hung off of parked bikes in the downtown area

B.C. NDP retreats again on empty-home tax for urban areas

Rate reduced for all Canadians, dissident mayors to get annual meeting

Find your future at Black Press career fair in Victoria

More than 70 booths expected at Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25

Two B.C. cannabis dispensaries raided on legalization day

Port Alberni dispensaries ticketed for “unlawful sale” of cannabis

POLL: Do you support amalgamation for communities in the Capital Region?

Residents in Victoria and Saanich will be voting on Oct. 20 on… Continue reading

Canada not sending anyone to Saudi business summit

Sources insist Ottawa never intended to dispatch a delegation this time around

VPD ordered to co-operate with B.C. police watchdog probe

According to the IIO, a court is ordering Vancouver police to co-operate with an investigation into a fatal shooting

Earthquake early-warning sensors installed off coast of B.C.

The first-of-its kind warning sensors are developed by Ocean Networks Canada

B.C. woman looks to reduce stigma surrounding weed-smoking moms

Shannon Chiarenza, a Vancouver mom of two, started weedmama.ca to act as a guide for newcomers to legal cannabis, specifically mothers

B.C. teen gives away tickets to Ellen Degeneres show, plans O Canada welcome

The Grade 9 student wanted to give away tickets in the spirit of inclusivity

Most Read