House Republicans leaders took steps to modify their stalled Obamacare replacement bill today as a way to show progress before leaving for a scheduled two-week recess.
The Trump administration has been engaged in intense health-care discussions with Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and others this week to counter the notion that Republicans can’t agree on a way forward.
With prompting from the White House, Ryan agreed to add an amendment to the Republicans’ health-care bill providing for “high-risk pools” to subsidize coverage for people who are seriously ill and have high medical costs. To fund the risk-sharing pools, Republicans have proposed giving states more than $100 billion in federal “stabilization” funds. The House Rules Committee is marking up language today to be added to the bill.
The House health-care bill was tabled late last month when the GOP’s conservative and moderate wings could not agree on how much of the Affordable Care Act should be undone. The House Freedom Caucus has been pushing for changes to allow states to opt out of two important provisions in the ACA: essential health benefits, a menu of minimum services that insurers must cover; and community rating, which prevents insurers from demanding higher premiums from patients with pre-existing conditions.
Earlier today, Ryan said the amendment on high-risk pools offered by House conservatives “makes this a much better bill.”
“It gets us closer,” Ryan added. This is the kind of collaborative, bottom-up effort that we have been looking for. Like I said, we have more work to do and those conversations continue to take place and they really show promise.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Republicans are engaged in an internal war over “how to worsen America’s health care system and damage the protections Americans with pre-existing conditions receive.”