WASHINGTON (AP) — In a story Feb. 28 about health care, The Associated Press incorrectly identified Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers as vice chairman of the Republican Conference. She is the chairman of the conference.
A corrected version of the story is below:
House GOP discuss health care alternative
House GOP talk about health care alternative amid deep divisions over viable option
By DONNA CASSATA
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republican leaders took a small step on Friday toward pulling together a viable alternative to President Barack Obama's four-year-old health care law but faced deep divisions over whether the GOP caucus can coalesce around a comprehensive proposal.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia met privately with Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state, the chairman of the Republican Conference and three Republican committee chairmen — Budget's Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Education's John Kline of Minnesota, and Ways and Means' Dave Camp of Michigan to discuss a way forward.
The session, which produced no legislation, comes in an election year in which Republicans see the unpopular law as their ticket to political victory in November. Democrats have struggled to defend the Affordable Care Act, especially vulnerable Senate incumbents whose fate could decide majority control.
The GOP expects to hold its House majority and sees a legitimate shot at gaining the six seats necessary to seize control of the Senate.
Republicans who have derided Obama's law have voted some 50 times to repeal, gut or change the Affordable Care Act, but they've been unable to unify around a credible alternative. The House is slated to vote next week on a measure that targets one element of the law, eliminating the penalty for individuals who fail to sign up for health care insurance.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, says replacing "Obamacare" requires a discussion to sort through numerous proposals. He said his members have offered 126.
The difficulty for the GOP is division within the ranks over how and whether to proceed as well as what should be in the legislation. Among the major questions are whether to offer a comprehensive proposal or offer piecemeal measures, whether to keep the more popular elements of Obama's law such as leaving children on their parents plans until age 26, or scuttling the Affordable Care Act entirely.