White House, lawmakers adrift over reviving health bill

The meeting included Pence as well as the leaders of different House GOP factions: Meadows, Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker (R-N.C.), and moderate Tuesday Group co-chairman Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.).

"If I was a swing-district Republican told to vote for a bill as bad as the last one that now guts (protections for those with) pre-existing conditions too, I'd wonder what they were smoking", said Jesse Ferguson, a Democratic strategist who is consulting with groups opposing the repeal of Obamacare. Yet Wall Street appears to have decided that there's nothing to be gained by diving back into the treacherous politics of ObamaCare repeal.

Conservatives said Pence proposed that states would be able to apply for waivers exempting them from certain Affordable Care Act provisions, specifically the law's essential health benefits and "community rating", which prevents insurers from charging sick customers more than healthy consumers.

One member of that caucus, Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., said Tuesday he remained an opponent of the legislation.

According to Politico, members of both sides said there were a variety of options the White House team promised to one side but not the other.

"We're basically working on the concepts where the differences have been".

"I'm not going to raise expectations, but I think that there are more and more people coming to the table with more and more ideas about how to grow that vote", Spicer said. The proposal was getting mixed reviews from conservative and moderate lawmakers alike, raising questions about whether the legislative rescue mission would work. The participant spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the private strategy session.

The White House on Wednesday talked up progress with Republicans on resuscitating the GOP health care bill, but offered no timeline on rewriting a measure that could win House approval.

But after a bumpy meeting with Vice President Pence Tuesday night it became clear that they weren't on the same page - leading to widespread acknowledgment that a revised bill isn't coming anytime soon.

White House officials and leading legislators aimed to resume talks Wednesday. The current version of the GOP legislation would erase that coverage requirement but let states reimpose it themselves, an idea that is opposed by numerous party's moderates. The group's roughly three dozen members have largely opposed the GOP legislation for not repealing enough of Obama's law.

The White House offer would also let states seek an exemption to the law's requirement that insurers must offer coverage to people with serious diseases. Conservatives have argued that such requirements have the effect of inflating insurance costs.

Republican attempts to resurrect their Obamacare repeal efforts are stalling out once again, with moderates and hard-line conservatives blaming each other for their failure to make substantive progress.

Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-New Jersey, who opposed the first iteration of the bill, tweeted Tuesday that he is still against the proposal.

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

Talk of a revived plan hurt shares of hospitals and insurers that have benefited from Obamacare's expansion of the Medicaid program for the poor, which extended insurance to millions of people and helped cut hospital debt. Meadows said talks were boiling down to curbing several of Obama's coverage requirements - a far cry from the full repeal of the statute that many initially preferred. He added, "We must fight them" in 2018, a reference to their re-election campaigns.

While the goal of having the health care bill enacted into law by the end of April was part of the "ideal calendar" Ryan said he laid out for 2017, he noted, "It's a calendar that I laid out for 2017 that clearly has room to breathe". "I don't want to put any specific odds on it", Ryan said.

Information for this article was contributed by Alan Fram, Erica Werner, Richard Lardner, Kevin Freking, Ken Thomas and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar of The Associated Press; by Mike DeBonis, John Wagner, Sean Sullivan and Paige Winfield Cunningham of The Washington Post; and by Anna Edgerton, Arit John, Billy House, Justin Sink and staff members of Bloomberg News.

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