White House officials offer change to health care bill

Trump talks healthcare with Republican critic on golf course

Trump hits golf course with Sen. Rand Paul

Trump administration officials attended the House Freedom Caucus meeting Monday in an attempt to sway lawmakers on a new Obamacare repeal bill.

Moderate Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J., also remained an opponent, citing the GOP bill's cuts in care offered low-income people under Medicaid and the higher out-of-pocket costs it would impose on many poorer and older consumers. Opposition from the hard-line group, which has around three dozen conservative Republicans, contributed to circumstances that forced House Speaker Paul Ryan to withdraw the bill from a March 24 vote that would have produced a certain defeat. But he emphasized that it was in its "conceptual stage".

Later in the day, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., his party's chief vote counter, said talks were not at "a place where there is consensus" on health care and indicated a vote this week was unlikely.

These would include waivers from an Affordable Care Act provision that obliges insurers to cover so-called "essential health benefits", including mental health, maternity and substance abuse services. The current version of the GOP legislation would erase that coverage requirement but let states reimpose it themselves, language that is opposed by many moderates.

Also on the table, Meadows said, was the idea that insurers could opt out of community health ratings, which now ban insurers from charging higher premiums based on gender or health history.

Reaction from rank-and-file GOP lawmakers was mixed.

Before the last bill, the American Health Care Act, was pulled amid rampant party infighting, Paul blasted the proposed legislation as "Obamacare Lite" and said it would "continue to allow the insurance premiums to skyrocket".


"It is wrong to require the states to come to Washington, D.C., on bended knee", Brooks said.

"If leadership hasn't learned the lessons of the failures of two weeks ago, then they'll bring something forward where nobody knows about it and try and get it passed", Renacci said.

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows confirmed to CNN Monday morning that his group had still not had any formal discussions with the Tuesday group despite the fact Meadows said his group had reached out to moderates on no less than five or six occasions.

The outing to Trump National Golf Club came hours after Trump tweeted that talks on replacing the law have been going on and "will continue until such time as a deal is hopefully struck". He added, "That's the calculation we have to make".

The Freedom Caucus has drawn the most wrath from the White House for its opposition to the bill. Late Tuesday, they failed in a Capitol basement office meeting to shake hands on a White House proposal to let states seek federal waivers to drop coverage mandates that President Barack Obama's health care law slapped on the insurance industry.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has defended the trips, saying Trump has talked about how to use the game to build relationships with people.

About 2 in 3 were glad the House GOP bill didn't pass last month.

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