Sweet Baby Jeebus with Mr. Pointy*! ‘Payola’ Mike Allen at Axios’ morning email thingie:
Facing embarrassment and crosswinds when they head home for the Easter break, House Republicans are making another run at health reform. The latest plan, brokered by Vice President Pence, faces tough odds in the House, and an even slighter change of becoming law.
But it gives Republicans a chance to get back on the horse — to look like they’re trying rather than giving up:
- The twist, as reported by Axios’ Jonathan Swan: Give HHS Secretary Tom Price more authority so he can grant waivers to let states knock out some of the regulations the conservatives consider the most expensive.
- The problem: This goes against everything the conservative House Freedom Caucus has railed about the for the last six years — that Congress, not bureaucrats, should make these decisions.
- The latest: Axios’ David Nather reports in his Vitals newsletter: “Pence left the Freedom Caucus meeting last night without a deal, but [Chairman] Mark Meadows said the group was ‘encouraged.'”
- The strategy: A Hill source tells me the subtle message to Republicans is: “If we can’t find a way to fix this, Trump will cut deals with Democrats” — with the chance for them to get preferences for their states.
- The outlook: A Republican told me from the Capitol: “Everyone’s still in all kinds of boxes. It makes this really hard.”
And now, as is our custom, we turn to Tiger Beat on the Potomac (thanks Charlie!) morning email thingie!
IT’S BACK … WE THINK? — “White House, conservatives mull deal to revive Obamacare repeal,” by Rachael Bade and Jen Haberkorn: “House conservatives and the White House are mulling a potential agreement to revive the GOP Obamacare replacement bill that was pulled from the House floor just over a week ago, POLITICO has learned. The House Freedom Caucus, the group of three-dozen conservatives that helped bring down the bill, has been in talks with Trump administration officials about changes to the legislation that might get them to ‘yes.’ One option seriously being considered, multiple GOP sources said, includes allowing governors to opt out of some Obamacare regulations.
“The developments could mean that Speaker Paul Ryan’s bill might not be dead after all — or at least indicate that continued discussions are going on behind the scenes. Sources stressed that the details are still being finalized, and it’s far from certain that such a change would act as a silver bullet to salvage the much-maligned bill. It is unclear whether such an idea would win over enough conservatives while also keeping moderate Republicans on board. Two sources told POLITICO centrist House Republicans were summoned to the White House to discuss the idea Monday afternoon.” http://politi.co/2nDvgFy
— ONE THING TO REMEMBER: It’s possible, but very unlikely this bill will pass before May. A two-week recess starts Thursday afternoon. Even if a deal came together today, the GOP whip team would have to canvass for support to see if it could pass. And, if Republicans are true to what they promised voters a few years back, the bill would have to sit for three days so the public could review it. That would take us to Thursday — the day Republicans are slated to get out of town. Could they keep the House in an extra day? Sure. Will they? Who knows, but probably not. And if it doesn’t pass this week, it won’t even be in the mix until May — when Congress returns the last week of this month, they’ll have to fight to keep the government open.
And because we find the breathless speculation, well, breathless, we turn to the NYTimes for their breathless speculation:
Republican Health Proposal Would Undermine Coverage for Pre-existing Conditions
The terms, described by Representative Mark Meadows, Republican of North Carolina and the head of the Freedom Caucus, are something like this:
States would have the option to jettison two major parts of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance regulations. They could decide to opt out of provisions that require insurers to cover a standard, minimum package of benefits, known as the essential health benefits. And they could decide to do away with a rule that requires insurance companies to charge the same price to everyone who is the same age, a provision called community rating.
So Gov. Brownback could personally take away your pre-existing conditions coverage? He’s popping wood!
We’ll conclude with this tweet that just perfectly sums up the finger-eff’ing that Trump is giving the government:
President's cuts to Interior: $1.5 billion
President's check to Park Service: $77K
Park Ranger's face: Priceless pic.twitter.com/5aOpOy5oMb
— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) April 4, 2017
*Mr. Pointy is the name that Buffy gave her wooden stake vampire slaying dealio. And yes, I am a Joss Whedon fanboi, why do you ask? — TG