Price prods GOP to 'collaborate' on health care overhaul

To his credit, one of Donald Trump's first acts as the new President was to repeal Obamacare, which helped to lift penalties off Americans.

Friday morning, members of the Republican Study Committee - who have expressed serious doubts about the House's health care bill - emerged from a meeting at the White House backing the legislation.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has told senior Republicans that he won't change the main pillars of his plan to repeal and partially replace Obamacare, even as Republicans search for tweaks that can break their logjam over the legislation.

At a news conference later in the evening, Ryan said the House will hold votes on repealing and replacing Obamacare, but refused to provide a timetable.

"There's a long history in modern politics of House members walking the plank for legislation that not only fails to become law but never even gets a vote in the Senate", Cotton, a one-term House member before coming to the Senate, said in an interview in his office Thursday.

"We're making refinements based upon the feedback we're getting from our members", Ryan said in a news conference Thursday.

Republicans remain deeply divided over their US healthcare overhaul, Trump's first major legislative initiative and one that aims to make good on his campaign pledge to repeal and replace the healthcare plan put in place by his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama.

A copy of the letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan was provided to The Associated Press.

The modified bill includes additional restrictions to Medicaid.

"I want the states to run the program, ".

The job of the whip team has only been made more hard this week by a non-partisan Congressional Budget Office score showing that 24 million more Americans could be uninsured in the next decade if the Republican bill to repeal Obamacare is passed. They've also discussed changing the new tax credits.

The key question is whether Trump is able to convince enough Republicans to toe the line and help pass the bill in the House, where Republicans can afford no more than 21 defections if all Democrats vote no, as expected.

Meanwhile, moderates in the same party feel the tax credits are too stingy, especially for low earners and older people.

"Anything that can get 218 votes and make the bill better, we're all about it", Rep.

Representative Charlie Dent, following a meeting of moderate Republicans with Pence, told reporters that speeding up the termination of the Medicaid expansion was a "non-starter".

House Republicans from swing districts aren't interested in taking a risky vote on legislation that may be dead on arrival in the Senate.

Vice President Mike Pence earlier in the day advocated for the plan behind closed doors with the Republican Study Committee, a large group of House conservatives.

Underscoring GOP leaders' push-and-pull problem, around 60 conservatives who met with Pence proposed revisions in the other direction, including a hastening of the Medicaid expansion phaseout to 2018 instead of the legislation's 2020. Gone was the federal government's oppressive mandate requiring all Americans who do not have health coverage to pay a stiff penalty.

The latest government sign-up numbers missed Obama's target of 13.8 million people for 2017. That's 4 million more than the 20 million who've gained either Medicaid or insurance coverage under Obama's law. The rally was organized by FreedomWorks, a conservative group backed by the billionaire Koch brothers.

Nonetheless, experts said the report undercuts Republican claims that the health law's insurance markets are teetering toward collapse, which they say makes repealing the law crucial.

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