Apr 4, 2017

Trumpcare revival talks falling apart ahead of Pence meeting

John Minchillo / AP

Attempts to reach a deal this week on health care are unraveling fast, with conservatives already blaming House Speaker Paul Ryan for blocking the White House bill, and leadership sources saying that's nonsense and that the Freedom Caucus is making unreasonable demands that are losing net votes.

It's a bad sign for Republicans ahead of Vice President Mike Pence's visit to the Capitol tonight. From a senior Republican source:

While we haven't picked up any votes yet, this concept is already showing signs of losing a ton of them.

The Freedom Caucus and conservative group perspective: The bill's text is changing for the worse, and it no longer looks like some of the Obamacare regulations will be waived. Conservatives are growing doubtful that the White House and House leadership are willing to get rid of Obamacare's ban on charging sick people higher premiums. Conservatives also want to know what leadership has to say about the "medical loss ratio," or the Obamacare regulation limiting how much of insurers' revenue can be profit.

They're also not happy about the accusation that getting rid of the Obamacare ban on charging higher premiums would nullify its protections for pre-existing conditions.

A Freedom Caucus source: "We've never ever wanted to go after pre-existing conditions. That's spin (well a lie) meant to undermine us. Pence said he supports our plan of reforming, and funding changes to high risk pools, specifically to deal with pre-existing conditions."

House leadership perspective: Where the plan is heading will potentially lose more votes than it picks up. The Freedom Caucus, they say, is moving the goal posts again and trying to shift blame.

What to watch: Pence's meeting tonight around 8:30pm with "major stakeholders," per a GOP source.

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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