GOP Leader Pulls Bill To Redirect Prevention Funds To Health Law's High-Risk Pools

Shelving the measure to provide more money for coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, which faced strong opposition from conservatives, is viewed as a setback for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and efforts to rebrand the Republican Party.

The Washington Post: House GOP Leadership Falls On Health Vote
House Republican leaders suffered a humiliating legislative setback Wednesday when a large faction of GOP lawmakers rebelled against a leadership proposal that had drawn the opposition of powerful outside activists. The mutiny forced House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) to abruptly pull from the floor legislation to shore up a program that allows people with preexisting health conditions to buy into an insurance pool for high-risk patients before they are able to transition to coverage under President Obama’s health-care law. … The Club for Growth led a contingent of right-leaning groups that urged Republican lawmakers to oppose the bill, casting it as a costly boondoggle that would do nothing to dismantle the health-care law (Kane, 4/24).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: GOP Postpones Vote To Use Disease-Prevention Money To Extend Coverage For High-Risk Patients
GOP leaders postponed a scheduled vote after the measure met strong opposition from two directions: from conservative groups resistant to any federal role in health care and from Democrats who objected that the Republicans planned to pay for the high-risk patient program by raiding a disease prevention provision the administration says is essential to the overhaul (4/24).

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: GOP Shelves Legislation Attacking Obama Health Law
Their bill had been scheduled for a House vote but was abruptly pulled from the calendar in the face of conservative and Democratic opposition. The measure would abolish a $2 billion fund to pay for public health initiatives and channel the money instead to a program to help provide insurance for people with pre-existing conditions (Hook, 4/24).

Politico: GOP Pulls Contentious Obamacare Bill
It's a blow to the Virginia Republican, who touted the "Helping Sick Americans Now Act" and visited the Republican Study Committee meeting Wednesday to try to move votes (Sherman, 4/24).

Reuters: Republican Leaders Withdraw Healthcare Bill Amid Conservative Concerns
Republican leaders in the House of Representatives on Wednesday withdrew a bill that would change the Obama administration's healthcare law amid conservative concerns that the legislation was replacing one big government program with another. The House cleared the way to debate the bill, which was designed to help Americans with pre-existing medical conditions while preventing the administration from using an alternate source of funding to implement its healthcare law (Cowan, 4/24).

The New York Times: House Majority Leader's Quest To Soften G.O.P.'s Image Hits A Wall Within
On Wednesday, Republican leaders abruptly shelved one of the centerpieces of Mr. Cantor's "Making Life Work" agenda — a bill to extend insurance coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions — in the face of a conservative revolt. Last month, legislation to streamline worker retraining programs barely squeaked through. … So it has gone. Items that Mr. Cantor had hoped would change the Republican Party's look, if not its priorities, have been ignored, have been greeted with yawns or have only worsened Republican divisions (Weisman, 4/24).

Los Angeles Times: Republican Effort To Rebrand The Party Takes A Hit
Cantor's approach echoed the "compassionate conservatism" of an earlier Republican era. … That ambitious goal ran smack into political reality Wednesday as conservative lawmakers rejected a Republican bill to help Americans with preexisting health conditions gain access to insurance coverage. Republican leaders had to abruptly yank the bill from consideration because they did not have enough votes from their rank and file to pass it. The episode was another example of the difficulty the Republican Party faces in corralling its unruly majority and finding a common message to attract voters (Mascaro, 4/24).

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