Ryan’s office warning he wasn’t part of deal on ObamaCare: source

Speaker ‘s (R-Wis.) office told a meeting of congressional leadership offices on Monday that the Speaker is not part of a deal to get ObamaCare fixes passed before the end of the year, according to a source familiar with the meeting.

Senate Majority Leader (R-Ky.) made a commitment to Sen. (R-Maine) that he would support passage of two bipartisan ObamaCare bills before the end of the year, a promise that helped win her vote for tax reform.

However, Ryan’s office told a meeting of staff from the four top congressional leadership offices on Monday that he has not made that same commitment, raising further questions about whether the ObamaCare bills, already opposed by House conservatives, can pass the House.

ADVERTISEMENTRyan’s office did not go so far as to say it opposed the bipartisan bills, the source said, and it is still possible the measures could pass before the end of the year. The Senate is expected to add the measures to a government funding bill later this month, which would put pressure on the House to accept it or else risk a government shutdown.

Collins also got a commitment from President Trump to support the bills, which could help get them to passage.

One of the measures in question, from Senate Health Committee Chairman (R-Tenn.) and ranking member (D-Wash.), would fund key ObamaCare payments to insurers for two years in exchange for additional flexibility for states to change ObamaCare rules. The other bill, from Collins and Sen. (D-Fla.), would provide funding known as “reinsurance” that helps pay for the costs of sick ObamaCare enrollees with the intent of bringing down premiums.

Collins hopes that these two bills would make up for the premium increases caused by repealing ObamaCare’s individual mandate in the tax bill. Some experts have disputed that argument, saying more funding than what is proposed would be needed.

A Ryan spokeswoman pointed to the Speaker’s comments on the Alexander–Murray bill at a press conference on Tuesday. Ryan was asked if he opposes the  bill and whether he still thinks repeal and replacement of ObamaCare is the best path.

“Well of course I think that’s the best way we can go, but we’re going to have continued discussions with our members here in the House and across the aisle about the best way forward,” Ryan said. “We think health care is deteriorating. We think premiums are going up through the roof, insurers are pulling out and that’s not a status quo we can live with.”

Conservative House Freedom Caucus leaders that they opposed adding those ObamaCare bills to a funding measure, saying they are simply propping up the health-care law.

In addition, Rep. (R-Okla.), a leadership ally, said on Monday that he did not think the Alexander–Murray bill could pass the House.

“The package that’s put together today is just not sufficient to get the votes,” Cole said. “You will not get the votes here. And we shouldn’t be passing something if you get 50 Republican votes and 180 Democratic votes. That’s not the way to pass something in the House that you control.”

Cole said the measure would need “something that materially changes ObamaCare, materially lowers the cost that’s driving up health care for everybody.”

Collins, for her part, on Monday told reporters she is not concerned that the ObamaCare fixes were not included in a stopgap funding bill being voted on this week. She said she expects the measures to be in the next funding bill later in the month.

“I suspect it will be in the next one,” she said.

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