Conservative groups urge Ryan: Move ahead with ObamaCare repeal

Conservative groups urge Ryan: Move ahead with ObamaCare repeal

Top outside groups are urging Republican leadership to put together and pass a new ObamaCare repeal plan that will pass muster with conservatives after the GOP's healthcare bill last week fell apart amid a lack of support.

"The House needs to work with conservatives to craft a bill that truly repeals and replaces ObamaCare," Heritage Action CEO Mike Needham said in a press call Friday. "They should be willing to work with us." 

Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanGOP divided over care for transgender troops Want bipartisan health reform? Make the debate honest again Ex-CBO directors defend against GOP attacks on ObamaCare analysis MORE (R-Wis.) pulled the American Health Care Act (AHCA) from a vote on the floor last week when it became apparent it would not have enough support from Republicans to pass it.

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Ryan said Republicans would move on from repealing ObamaCare for the time being. He said this week that leadership would work toward getting the votes but has not provided any specifics or a timeline. 

Conservatives argue Republicans can't just walk away after pledging for seven years to repeal ObamaCare if elected.

"Republicans promised a full repeal of ObamaCare. Trump won because he promised repeal of ObamaCare," Andy Roth, vice president of the conservative Club for Growth, said in a press call. 

But repeal efforts in Congress have reached a standstill as moderates and conservatives appear to be at odds over the contents of the bill. 

Conservatives want a full repeal of ObamaCare's insurer requirements and mandates, which is at odds with moderates. 

Roth blamed the failure on leadership for catering to moderates while shutting conservatives out of the process. 

"The idea that the center of gravity is in the left side of the caucus is a horrible way of legislating, and we're getting precisely the result of that with this disfunction," Roth said, adding that leadership should get "buy in from conservatives first." 

Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, led by Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), have been the most outspoken critics of the bill, vowing to vote against it if it doesn't repeal ObamaCare's Title 1 regulations, which they say would drive down premiums. 

Meadows has said he has had one-on-one talks with moderate Republicans, but there still appears to be no progress toward finding a middle ground.

Roth said if the leadership eliminates the Title 1 regulations, conservatives would get on board. 

"Moderates are holding this up. It's because of the moderates who actually are supporting a lot of the things that are in ObamaCare," he said. 

"If we can get [rid of regulations], we can get on board, and we can finally make some headway on this thing." 

But those changes could alienate moderates, who have a large presence in the House. There are about 50 members of the moderate Tuesday Group. 

While many members of the group have said it won't support the bill in its current form, the Freedom Caucus has found itself facing the brunt of the blame for the bill's failure. 

The caucus has even drawn the ire of President Trump, who vowed to support primary challenges against its members in 2018 if they don't get on board. 

Brent Bozell, chairman of ForAmerica, warned Trump against alienating the Freedom Caucus, saying they will the biggest supporters of his agenda. 

"Not only is he going to need the Freedom Caucus in virtually every single fight to come, but the reality is that Freedom Caucus is going to be his strongest supporters in the battles ahead." 

If Congress doesn't repeal ObamaCare in its entirety, it could lose its majorities in the 2018 midterm elections,  Bozell said. 

"It is absolute suicide for the Republican Party to continue following the course they're embarking on right now," he said. 

"If they go down this road, I suggest they need to consider very seriously the fact that they would lose the House and the Senate in 2018."