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Heritage Action blames GOP moderates for collapse of new health deal

Heritage Action blames GOP moderates for collapse of new health deal
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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.

He blamed the moderate Tuesday Group for standing in the way of a deal.

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"I think the Tuesday Group clearly wants to keep ObamaCare in place," Needham said, adding that "pressure needs to be put on the Tuesday Group to get to yes."

Needham even listed some of the lawmakers in the group, accusing Reps. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.), David Joyce (R-Ohio) and Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) of going back on their word after previously criticizing ObamaCare.

He also blamed House Republican leadership for what he said was a failure to push to get through a deal proposed by Vice President Pence on Monday night.

That proposal would have allowed states to apply for waivers to forgo ObamaCare regulations that mandate which healthcare services an insurer must cover, as well as prohibitions against charging people with pre-existing conditions higher premiums or denying them coverage.

Allowing states to repeal those protections has drawn pushback from more moderate members, whom Needham criticized.

Needham said that the original proposal from Pence was modified on Tuesday to narrow the regulations for which states could get a waiver. The newer proposal would only have allowed states to get a waiver from the regulations on what a plan must cover, not the pre-existing condition protections, he said. That idea, however, was not conservative enough, Needham added.

"There's not momentum at this point and it's because of the intransigence of the Tuesday Group," Needham said.

Camille Gallo, a spokeswoman for Tuesday Group co-chairman Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.), on Wednesday dismissed Heritage Action's comments as "lame political soundbites."

"While special interest groups shoot spitballs from the rafters, Congressman MacArthur is working with his colleagues towards real healthcare reform," Gallo wrote in an email. "He simply isn’t interested in playing the D.C. blame game and will continue to focus on solutions, not lame political soundbites."

- Updated at 1:06 p.m.