- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 3, 2017

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Wednesday that health care reform is definitely not dead.

Mr. Ryan was asked on the “The Hugh Hewitt Show” if Republicans were giving up on health care reform as Rep. Fred Upton announced plans to introduce another amendment to the revised bill.

Mr. Ryan responded, “No, no, no. Fred Upton in his amendment is actually something nobody has a problem with and it’s actually helping.”

Mr. Upton is in talks with both Republicans congressmen and the White House over an amendment that will further protect those with pre-existing conditions.

A GOP aide said the amendment would provide an additional $8 billion to reduce premiums and out-of-pocket costs for people who are already sick and experienced a gap in coverage, meaning they could face higher costs in states that seek a waiver from community rating provisions that require insurers to charge healthy and sick customers the same amount.

Mr. Upton, the former chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, appeared to deliver a major blow to the health care effort by withdrawing his support on Tuesday, though now he’s trying to remedy the sputtering effort.

Mr. Ryan said the amendment is being talked about with members of the conservative Freedom Caucus and will not change their support for the revised bill.

“There is not a problem. Mark Meadows, who is chairman of the [Freedom Caucus] is very involved in this process, knows exactly what’s going on,” Mr. Ryan said. He also added that the amendment may convince some members who are still on the fence about supporting the new health care legislation.

But the House speaker declined to say whether there would be a vote this week.

“I have a policy of not commenting on when we’re going to bring these votes up,” Mr. Ryan said. “We’re making progress.”

Republicans are being very cautious about presenting their newly revised health care bill to the floor of the House after a failed attempt at passing a reform bill in March.

Tom Howell Jr. contributed to this article.

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