House Republicans Can’t Agree on New Health Care Plan, Take Two-Week Break

Hard-line conservatives continue to say “no”

Congress has left town for a two-week recess without a deal to end House Republicans’ infighting over changes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), thwarting GOP hopes for a quick revival of replacement legislation, according to a Reuters report.

Representative Chris Collins (R-New York), a moderate, told reporters that days of negotiations have broken down over conservative demands to allow states to waive popular PPACA policies that protect sick people from price discrimination and allow young adults to stay on their parents’ health care plans until age 26.

Collins added that the hard-line conservative House Freedom Caucus was “moving the goal posts” for negotiations, risking potential support from moderate Republicans.

GOP House members have been railing against the PPACA ever since its enactment in 2010. A few days ago, some Republican lawmakers expressed hope the Trump White House would unveil a health care bill, but the legislation has yet to emerge.

On April 4, after a closed-door meeting with House Republicans, Vice President Mike Pence told reporters there was “good talk, good progress” toward a bill. He did not elaborate.

Republican lawmakers have said their efforts are focused on maintaining the PPACA’s essential health benefits, such as mental health coverage and maternity care. But states could apply for waivers if it would improve coverage and reduce costs.

If major portions of the PPACA are repealed, there were discussions of creating a “backstop” so premiums do not spike for people with chronic illnesses in high-risk insurance pools.

Source: Reuters; April 5, 2017.