“We’re not going to retrench into our corners or put up dividing lines,” Mr. Ryan said after a meeting of House Republicans was dominated by talk of how to restart health negotiations. “There’s too much at stake to get bogged down in all that,” he added.
Democrats had celebrated what they thought was the demise of the repeal bill on Friday. But the House Republican whip, Steve Scalise of Louisiana, said on Tuesday, “Their celebration is premature.”
“I think we’re closer today to repealing Obamacare than we’ve ever been before, and surely even closer than we were Friday,” Mr. Scalise said.
It is not clear what political dynamics might have changed since Friday, when a coalition of hard-line conservatives and more moderate Republicans torpedoed legislation to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement.
“I don’t know what has changed,’’ said Representative Jim McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts. “The bill went down because it was too bad for Republican moderates and not bad enough for their conservatives. I don’t know how they reconcile the divides within their own conference, never mind find any Democratic votes.”
The Republicans’ repeal bill, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would have left an additional 24 million Americans without insurance by 2026, a major worry for moderate Republicans. It would also have left in place regulations on the health insurance industry that are anathema to conservatives.
Mr. Ryan declined to say what might be in the next version of the Republicans’ repeal bill, nor would he sketch any schedule for action. But he said Congress needed to act because insurers were developing premiums and benefit packages for health plans to offer in 2018, with review by federal and state officials beginning soon.
The new talks, which quietly began this week, involve Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, and members of two Republican factions that helped sink the bill last week, the hard-right Freedom Caucus and the more centrist Tuesday Group.
Any deal would have to overcome significant differences about how to rework a law that affects about one-fifth of the American…