Stories

When can the GOP move on from health care? Never

Giphy

The two big things to watch this week:House Republicans are going to enter another week chipping away at a health care compromise — not really sure if it gains any votes, let alone what the policy impact would be, since there isn't enough detail for even sympathetic health care wonks to tell them.On the more urgent task — funding the government and preventing a shutdown — the GOP will have to reach some kind of agreement with Democrats on funding Affordable Care Act payments to insurers. That's possible, but only if congressional Republicans and the White House can get on the same page.The big takeaway: It would be a mistake to write off any House Republican attempt to revive its health care bill — because the White House wants a repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act so badly, and the House GOP is so reluctant to give it up, that they may keep going until they win the bare minimum votes to pass it. Then it becomes the Senate's problem.Key quote: From a GOP leadership aide: "It's hard to imagine not resolving the health care issue at this point. We are too far along to abandon the effort altogether."Where things stand:Repeal: Republican staffers are still vetting the legislative language for a possible compromise between Rep. Tom MacArthur, a leader of the moderate Tuesday Group, and Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows. White House chief of staff Reince Priebus made it clear on NBC's Meet the Press that the White House would still like a vote this week if possible — but House Speaker Paul Ryan already told his GOP colleagues on Saturdaythat it won't happen until the votes are there.Insurer payments: President Trump was combative on Twitter this weekend, and so was Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney on the Sunday talk shows. But Priebus wasn't, and he sounded conciliatory on the main thing the White House wants in return for insurer payments: money to build the border wall. The lack of fighting words from congressional GOP leaders — who just want to move on — could suggest quiet movement toward an agreement.