The deal may win conservatives, but at the expense of moderate support
Vice President Mike Pence has been conducting meetings with lawmakers over a new Obamacare repeal plan Tuesday as the House scrambles to clean up the last healthcare failure.
Unfortunately, it does not look like that the tide will turn anytime soon. While talks include seeking out provisions to appease hard-line conservatives, moderates may now push back.
Some House Conservatives want to change Obamacare to include provisions that will allow states to choose waivers for a few regulations:
The first regulation, known as essential health benefits, requires insurance plans to cover services like mental health and prescription drugs. The second, known as community rating, prevents insurers from charging higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions.
Conservatives have long argued that the two regulations drive up premiums, and some of them have reacted favorably to the proposal.
Most moderates do not want that option. One Republican source told The Hill that “this concept is already showing signs of losing a ton” of votes while no one has been able to pick up any yes votes.
Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) will stick with his no vote as he “warned against allowing sick people to be charged more.” He believes removing the pre-existing condition provision “would effectively result in a return to the days before ObamaCare.”
Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) liked the failed AHCA bill, but remains hesitant to support this one due to the community rating:
“I appreciate the state’s rights argument but recognize that there’s a reason behind community rating and the benefit that it brings to the insurance reforms,” he told reporters.
Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) said the leaders may remove that provision, but that means they may lose the House Freedom Caucus. Without that group’s support, the AHCA failed before Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) could bring it to the floor for a vote.
Ryan and the White House do not have committed support from the group for this deal either:
While Freedom Caucus members say they are encouraged by the offer, none of them have committed support, saying they want to wait to review the legislative text first.
“All of our nos were open mindedly willing to look at that, and so in doing so, that’s a step in the right direction,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chairman of the Freedom Caucus.
Freedom Caucus member Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) told the Washington Examiner that if he sees the changes that he “heard last night, that is not enough to persuade me the bill is good for America.”
Despite these concerns, some in the GOP are optimistic about the bill, including Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), a member of the Republican Study Committee:
“We’ve got a good solution moving forward,” Flores said. “The continuing dialogue has been helpful. There is going to be a big meeting this evening with the three big organizations and the chairs and leadership. Pence said he would come if needed.”
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