KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Intraparty Blame Game Heats Up As ‘Zombie Trumpcare’ Falters Again Right Before Recess

Though talks continue, lawmakers are likely headed back to their districts for a two-week recess after failing to revive a health care plan.

The New York Times: As Latest Health Plan Dies, Republicans Can’t Agree On A Culprit
The new bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act is dead, killed off by House Republicans who never actually read the legislation — because in fact, it never actually existed. Conservative groups moved quickly on Wednesday to shift the blame for the failure of a seven-year promise to repeal the law onto some not-as-conservative Republicans, after a small but powerful group of hard-line House conservatives failed again to come to a meeting of the minds with the Trump administration over how best to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s signature achievement. (Steinhauer and Pear, 4/5)

The Wall Street Journal: GOP Talks To Relaunch Health Law Sputter
President Donald Trump has said on Twitter he still wants to pursue passage of the GOP health-care bill, but lawmakers are unlikely to reach an agreement before they leave Washington Thursday for a two-week recess. “I think it’s difficult to finish one by the end of the week,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) (Peterson and Andrews, 4/5)

Bloomberg: GOP Points Fingers At Each Other As Health Deal Prospects Fade 
Let the blame game begin -- again -- with House Republicans saying Wednesday they still can’t reach a deal on reviving their health-care bill, likely delaying any chance of action until at least May...The White House made another run at delivering on GOP promises to repeal and replace Obamacare, with Vice President Mike Pence spending Monday and Tuesday nights meeting with House lawmakers. But Republicans concede they still aren’t ready to vote, meaning that action is very unlikely this month. (House, Edgerton and John, 5/5)

The Associated Press: GOP Health Deal Elusive As House To Take Easter Break
"There's no suggestion we should be changing our flights," moderate Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., said Wednesday afternoon, a day before lawmakers were slated to leave Washington for their two-week recess. "We're going home ... without a deal. "From the party's right flank, Freedom Caucus member Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina said: "I've heard nothing of substance at this point that would break the logjam." (Alonso-Zaldivar and Fram, 4/6)

USA Today/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Speaker Paul Ryan Says Republicans' Obamacare Repeal May Take Months
A new push to pass a GOP health care bill will take weeks, not days, House Speaker Paul Ryan indicated Wednesday, as the latest talks among Republicans produced no apparent breakthrough. “We’ve got a couple months at least,” Ryan said in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Wednesday. “We’ve gotten pretty far in coming together,” he said, “but I also think we’re not there yet — because the stakes are so high, and people are just having to get used to” being the governing party. (Gilbert, 4/5)

CQ Roll Call: Republicans Ramp Up Blame Game As Hopes For Health Deal Fade
[T]he factions in the party now are blaming each other for what they see as negotiating in bad faith or "moving the goalposts," after a late Tuesday meeting failed to produce a deal. A subsequent meeting between the key lawmakers, planned for Wednesday, had not been scheduled by mid-afternoon. Moderates were vehement that the House Freedom Caucus had again suggested they could support a deal, only to later demand more conservative changes. Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., a member of the Tuesday Group, said the changes the White House was discussing would "not be helpful" to earn moderate support. The 36 or so members of the Freedom Caucus were the obstacle, he said. "Their definition of perfect is standing in the way of compromise, and that's why I'm not optimistic right now." (Mershon, 4/5)

The Hill: Ryan Takes Backseat To Pence In Latest ObamaCare Effort 
Two weeks ago, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) left it all on the field in trying to pass his ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill. He talked up the legislation during dozens of TV interviews. The former Ways and Means Committee chairman treated reporters to a half-hour presentation detailing why the current health insurance law was failing. And Ryan hosted countless meetings in his ornate office in the Capitol in a bid to flip members from no to yes.    Now, Ryan’s taking a more hands-off approach. (Wong and Sullivan, 4/5)

The Hill: Heritage Action Blames GOP Moderates For Collapse Of New Health Deal 
The leader of the conservative group Heritage Action on Wednesday accused moderate House Republicans of blocking a deal on a new ObamaCare replacement bill. Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham said in a call with reporters that prospects for a deal this week have fallen apart and proposed that lawmakers go back to their districts over the recess to regroup. (Sullivan, 4/5)

The New York Times: Trump Weighs Infrastructure Bill But Keeps New York Up In The Air
President Trump said he was considering “accelerating” the introduction of his $1 trillion infrastructure bill — but he pointedly refused to say whether he planned to include two major New York City transportation projects that his budget for next year would defund. Mr. Trump, speaking in a wide-ranging interview in the Oval Office on Wednesday, described the infrastructure package as a high-value legislative sweetener that he could attach to a revived Affordable Care Act repeal bill or tax code overhaul to attract bipartisan support that thus far he had neither sought nor received. (Thrush and Haberman, 4/5)

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