GOP Losing Votes on Health Bill, Imperiling Its Chances – By Kristina Peterson and Stephanie Armour WSJ Updated May 2, 2017 3:14 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON—House Republican leaders are on the brink of losing too many GOP votes to pass their health-care bill overturning much of the Affordable Care Act, potentially dashing hopes raised by the White House of a big legislative win this week.

At least 21 House Republicans have now said they oppose the latest version of the Republican plan to overhaul the health-care system, with an almost equal number publicly undecided on the bill. House GOP leaders can likely lose only 22 GOP votes to pass the bill, because it isn’t expected to receive any Democratic support.

House GOP leaders—often prodded publicly by the White House—have tried to reach enough support to call a vote on the health bill twice before, and a third disappointment could sink their efforts for the foreseeable future. That would mark a significant setback for a Republican Party that now fully controls Congress and the White House and has made undoing the ACA a top promise for the past six years.

Source: GOP Losing Votes on Health Bill, Imperiling Its Chances – WSJ

POTUS, GOP Race to Avoid Government Shutdown as They Juggle Health-Care Revamp – WSJ By Louise Radnofsky, Siobhan Hughes and Kristina Peterson Updated April 20, 2017 11:04 p.m. ET

The president and his allies in Congress are rushing to sort through two sensitive issues—how to avoid a government shutdown next week while reviving a failed overhaul of the Affordable Care Act—as Mr. Trump nears the end of his first 100 days in office.

WASHINGTON—The White House has thrust a new set of proposals into talks to avoid shutdown of the government next week, while also seeking to revive a health-care overhaul that had collapsed last month.

With less than a week to pass legislation funding the government for the rest of the fiscal year, negotiations are beginning to take shape. Democrats are demanding that the legislation include money for insurance companies, without which fragile insurance markets could implode, while the White House in return wants additional money for defense, the border wall and border enforcement.

Failure to extend the funding would trigger a partial government shutdown on April 29, the 100th day of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Republican leaders will need Democratic votes in the Senate, and likely in the House, to pass a spending bill, giving the minority party unusual leverage in negotiations. Discussions now hinge on Democratic demands that the government continue payments that help support Affordable Care Act insurance plans. The money, known as “cost-sharing” payments, helps insurers lower costs for low-income consumers.

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Source: Trump, GOP Race to Avoid Government Shutdown as They Juggle Health-Care Revamp – WSJ

4 takeaways from the town halls dogging the GOP – Rachael Bade 04/16/17 07:06 AM EDT

Liberal constituents aren’t letting up on Republicans even after their Obamacare repeal bill stalled.

Republicans eager to flee Capitol Hill after squandering weeks on failed negotiations to repeal Obamacare are finding little refuge at home, where furious throngs of liberal constituents await. Halfway through the two-week Easter break, it’s clear that the energy on the left to protect Barack Obama’s health care law — and oppose President Donald Trump — is still soaring.

But for the first time, pro-Obamacare constituents have a specific target: the American Health Care Act. GOP lawmakers now face town halls after debuting a real piece of legislation to gut Obamacare, which added to the urgency and anger of the protests that greeted Republicans as they scattered across the country.

POLITICO reporters traveled to nearly a dozen town halls to document the tumultuous homecoming Republicans faced. Here are four takeaways from Congress’ first week on the road, with reporting from Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Oregon, New Jersey, New York and Texas.

1) Republican AHCA critics sharpened their skepticism of the bill

As Republican leaders eye an attempt to salvage their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, they now are likely to have even more difficulty winning over wayward members.

Republicans who opposed the bill, which was abruptly pulled from the floor last month, soaked up some support from their left-leaning constituents. They also vowed to protect Obamacare provisions that cover people with preexisting conditions.

After GOP Health Bill’s Demise, More States Weigh Expanding Medicaid – By  Stephanie Armour Updated March 28, 2017 7:33 p.m. ET

Virginia, Maine and North Carolina are among the states taking steps toward growing their programs

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy at a press conference on Tuesday. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

A growing number of states are considering expanding their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act, after last week’s abrupt collapse of the GOP health bill and a development that could make it harder for Republicans to undo the law in the future.

Notably, the GOP-led Kansas legislature voted Tuesday to expand Medicaid over the protests of the state’s Republican governor. In addition, states including Virginia, Maine and North Carolina are taking steps toward growing their Medicaid programs now that the ACA seems unlikely to go away and federal money for such an expansion appears more secure.

At the same time, House Republican leaders, who were forced to withdraw a repeal-and-replace bill on Friday due to insufficient support from their own members, suggested Tuesday they were renewing their efforts. But there was little indication GOP divisions over the bill were healing, and Senate and White House officials said they saw no immediate path forward.

Given the prospect that, as House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) said Friday, “We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future,” some state officials are taking another look at expanding Medicaid, including those who had demurred because they expected President Donald Trump and a GOP-led Congress to repeal the ACA.

“The thing that held states back was that they were going to end Medicaid expansion,” said Adam Searing, a research professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families. “Now when you have the House speaker saying this is going to stay, it’s like, ‘We may get the money, why not explore it?’ ”

Expanding Medicaid, a federal-state health program for the poor and disabled, is a pillar of the ACA, allowing low-income adults who hadn’t previously qualified for Medicaid to become eligible. Washington provides additional funding to states that adopted the expansion, and the rolls of Medicaid and a related program have grown by around 16 million since the expansion went into effect in 2014.

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GOP rushes to vote without knowing full impact of healthcare plan – BY CRISTINA MARCOS AND PETER SULLIVAN – 03/23/17 10:38 PM EDT

“Have you read the bill? Have you read the reconciliation bill? Have you read the manager’s amendment? Hell no, you haven’t!”

Greg Nash

That was then-House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) in 2010 in the heat of the debate over ObamaCare.

Seven years later, Democrats could easily turn those words around on Republicans for the strategy they’re using to repeal and replace the same law Boehner railed against.

House Republicans are moving forward with a vote Friday on their ObamaCare replacement bill even after making significant changes the night before, and without a Congressional Budget Office analysis of those changes.

“We haven’t seen the final bill and won’t have a @USCBO score on the latest version before a vote,” Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) tweeted Thursday night. “This is not regular order, @SpeakerRyan.”

“We must have the opportunity to read and understand the final bill before we vote. It’s irresponsible to do otherwise,” added conservative Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) in a tweet Thursday night.

Republicans on Thursday night announced that they would make some significant changes to the bill with the intention of winning over conservatives.

The most prominent of those changes is to repeal ObamaCare’s essential health benefits, which mandate which health services an insurance plan must cover, including areas like mental health, prescription drugs, and maternity care. The GOP will also add $15 billion to a “stability fund” to the bill in order to provide mental health and maternity coverage, which will be paid for by keeping ObamaCare’s 0.9 percent Medicare tax on high earners for six years.

Repealing the essential health benefits could have far-reaching consequences for the legislation and for the U.S. healthcare system, but the CBO will not have time to release an analysis of the change before the vote on Friday.

“With these amendments, no,” House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) told reporters Thursday night when asked if there would be a new CBO report.

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GOP’s Obamacare civil war may have saved Medicaid expansion – SOPHIA TESFAYE – MONDAY, MAR 6, 2017 11:51 PM UTC

House Republicans unveil Obamacare replacement bill after four GOP senators refuse support

Chairman of the board of Americans for Prosperity David Koch speaks at the Defending the American Dream summit hosted by Americans for Prosperity at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio, Friday, Aug. 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)

House Republicans released their long-awaited replacement plan Monday evening, after seven years of shouting for repeal of what they derisively dubbed Obamacare. But in a move meant to preempt the bill’s unveiling, Republican senators Rob Portman of Ohio, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky Monday afternoon making clear that they won’t support the bill.

The senators cited a leaked version of the House bill to argue that it “lacks key protections” for those on Medicaid, which was expanded under Obamacare. The move puts Republicans’ entire plans to pass a repeal bill this month in jeopardy.

“The February 10th draft proposal from the House does not meet the test of stability for individuals currently enrolled in the program and we will not support a plan that does not include stability for Medicaid expansion populations or flexibility for states,” the senators wrote to McConnell.

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