House Speaker Ryan confirms talks underway on health care bill

FILE - House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. uses charts and graphs to make his case for the GOP's long-awaited plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Thursday, March 9, 2017, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON D.C. (AP) — House Speaker Paul Ryan says Republicans are talking about reviving the failed health care bill, but he declines to offer a timetable for a vote.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, the Wisconsin Republican says there are ongoing talks that are “at the concept stage right now.” He says it would be premature to say where the legislation stands or how much support it could garner.

Two weeks after the GOP bill crashed spectacularly, the White House made an offer to conservatives to resuscitate the legislation. Vice President Mike Pence and two top White House officials made the offer Monday night in a closed-door meeting with members of the House Freedom Caucus.

Opposition from the hard-line group, which has around three dozen conservative Republicans, contributed to circumstances that forced House Speaker Paul Ryan to withdraw the bill from a March 24 vote that would have produced a certain defeat.

Under the White House offer, states would be allowed to apply for waivers from several coverage requirements that President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law imposed on insurers.

These would include waivers from the provision that obliges insurers to cover so-called “essential health benefits,” including mental health, maternity and substance abuse services. The White House offer would also let states seek an exemption to the law’s requirement that insurers must offer coverage to people with serious diseases.

Several Republicans emerging from the closed-door GOP caucus Tuesday morning say they aren’t ready to sign on to any deal.

Says Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho: “I think it would be a mistake to rush it.”

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