Conservatives back revised health bill, GOP moderates balk
Apr 30 2017
Conservative Republicans put their moderate colleagues in the health care hot seat Wednesday. While there are indications that the revisions appeal to conservatives, some of them were still balking and there was little evidence that it was winning backing from moderates, leaving the measure's fate uncertain. The MacArthur amendment addresses this by forcing states opting out of Obamacare protections to fund high-risk pools instead in order to treat the most expensive patients.
A draft amendment obtained by CNN, first reported by Politico, gives renewed insight into where the GOP may be moving next.
The MacArthur-Meadows amendment allows states to apply for a waiver from ObamaCare's "community rating" requirement, which prevents insurers from charging higher premiums to sick people.
Pushing back on any timeline, House Speaker Paul Ryan has repeatedly said leadership will not bring the legislation to the floor until "we have the votes".
Some other Freedom Caucus members, such as Rep. David Brat, R-Va., told reporters Tuesday evening they are likely to support the s compromise, while others declined to comment saying they have not yet seen the text of the agreement.
"Many would lose access to affordable health coverage entirely, on top of the 24 million hard-working Americans who would already lose insurance under the original TrumpCare language", Pelosi stated.
Obamacare's "essential health benefits" provision requires insurers to provide 10 services, including maternity coverage, substance abuse and prescription drugs, in all plans.
Members of the group had predicted their counterparts would rally behind the proposal, particularly after it was endorsed by two leading conservative advocacy groups. "We are going to go when we have the votes", Ryan said.
Mark Meadows is a congressman from North Carolina and the titular head of the House Freedom Caucus.
House Republican Whip Steve Scalise told members during a GOP conference meeting that he was counting on anyone who voted "yes" to hold that position, but said anyone whose views have changed should meet with him, New York Rep.
The conservative House Freedom Caucus is prepared to support a reworked USA healthcare reform bill even though it would not fully repeal former President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, the group said in a statement on Wednesday.
The Freedom Caucus took a lot of heat for the bill's failure, the Pennsylvania Republican said, noting he doesn't care if the blame shifts to him and other moderates who oppose the bill.
MacArthur defended the amendment in an email to reporters that pushed back on what he termed "myths" about it, insisting the measure maintains protections for patients with existing health challenges and helps states do more to protect the most vulnerable residents.
"We're evaluating this amendment and we're looking to debate this as a caucus before we make a final decision", Meadows said. There are still questions of whether the amendment will actually get Republican leaders any closer to passing their health care bill. "I am committed to helping every American get the health insurance they need".
If that were repealed, insurers would be allowed to charge people with pre-existing conditions much higher premiums due to their illnesses, putting coverage out of reach for many.
But a new report from New Jersey Policy Perspective, a progressive think tank that has closely tracked the push to repeal and replace the ACA, said those promises are unlikely to stand up to the reality of market conditions.