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


In this photo taken February 28, 2017, a flag flies on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Yet GOP lawmakers and aides to party leaders, conservatives and moderates alike were skeptical that the House would vote next week on the health legislation. But a vote next week may risk another big political embarrassment like the one in March, when Trump and Ryan abruptly scrapped a vote for lack of Republican support.

The White House is anxious to pass legislation quickly, partly because Trump will likely hit his 100th day in office without a having signed a major piece of legislation.

Ahead of the scramble to keep the government running, reports Thursday indicated that the White House may push for a vote on a revised plan to replace the Affordable Care Act when Congress comes back. Trump also hopes to use a $1 trillion catchall spending bill to salvage victories on his promised U.S. -Mexico border wall, a multibillion-dollar down payment on a Pentagon buildup, and perhaps a crackdown on cities that refuse to cooperate with immigration enforcement by federal authorities.

A Republican congressional representative who spoke to CNBC expects Congress to avoid a government shutdown next week. Complicating that timetable, the administration has indicated its desire to include several controversial elements in the spending measure.

If the bill passed, the letter of the law would still prevent insurers from denying coverage based on a person's medical history, one of Obamacare's core reforms. Negotiations have faltered because of disputes over the border wall and health law subsidies to help low-income people afford health insurance.

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No Democrats supported the plan. States can only access these waivers if they intend to do so for the objective of reducing premium costs, increasing the number of people insured, or otherwise benefiting the state's public interest.

Trump on Thursday talked up the bill's prospects and said he saw "a good chance of getting it soon", either "next week or shortly thereafter". Politically speaking, they don't want to go near health care until after the 2018 midterms, but Trump's ego has been bruised and he needs a legislative accomplishment, so health care legislation has devolved into a test of wills within the Republican Party.

Mr. Trump earlier this week expressed confidence in passing spending legislation, saying, "I think we're in good shape".

Health care is on a separate track and facing trouble, too.

A quick vote, let alone approval, seems unlikely. On the contrary, GOP leaders are downplaying the possibility that it'll even be considered.

The problem for House Speaker Paul Ryan is that nearly anything they come up with likely isn't enough of a change to pass muster with his own conference.

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The MacArthur Amendment to the American Health Care Act would reinstate essential health benefits as the federal standard, but would allow states to apply for a waiver for these essential health benefits as a way to reduce premium costs.

There will be a House GOP conference call on Saturday to discuss the upcoming legislative agenda following the Easter recess, according to a Republican lawmaker, where health care is expected to come up.

Without those "cost-sharing reductions", insurers warn that they will have to sharply raise prices or leave the markets.

"If somebody needs maternity care, it will be much more expensive", Christine Eibner, senior economist and professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School, told ABC News.

The leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, and the head of the moderate Tuesday Group, New Jersey Rep. Tom MacArthur, are working toward a deal that could bring 18 to 20 new "Yes" votes from the conference's conservative wing, according to a source familiar with the talks. That's a point of concern, especially for the conservative hardliners of the House Freedom Caucus.

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