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House Prepares to Leave for Recess Without Health Care Deal

It’s another blow to Republicans and the Trump administration who had worked to revive the failed effort to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Image: Paul Ryan
In this March 24, 2017, photo, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., announces that he is abruptly pulling the troubled Republican health care overhaul bill off the House floor. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)J. Scott Applewhite / AP

The House of Representatives is set to leave town Thursday morning for a two-week break without reaching an agreement on health care. It’s another blow to Republicans and the Trump administration who had worked this week to revive the failed effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

After Republicans failed to garner enough votes nearly two weeks ago to pass the American Health Care Act, some Republicans instrumental in the bill’s failure — especially the conservatives — expressed renewed motivation to find a way to reach consensus with their more moderate counterparts.

The Trump administration in recent days has led discussions among the disparate groups in an attempt to reach a Republican compromise. But those talks went nowhere when an agreement could not be reached on a few issues and a late-night meeting with Vice President Mike pence and representatives of the relative factions of House Republicans Tuesday failed to move the effort forward.

The issues still separating them include insurance regulations. Conservative members want to get rid of regulations imposed on insurance companies that they say drive up the cost of health care but ensure that sick people maintain health care that covers an array of procedures and preventative care.

Moderates, meanwhile, are opposed to stripping the regulations, concerned that too many people would lose coverage and that the cost for sicker and older people would become too great.

Trust among House Republicans have suffered in recent weeks as some members are frustrated with the conservative House Freedom Caucus whom some say will come around to support any bill.

Congress will return from recess with a crowded agenda that starts with the need to pass a funding measure to prevent a government shutdown. They’ll also have to consider a debt ceiling increase and would like to also tackle tax reform. And, of course, health care.