Friday, 22 September, 2017

House Republicans reveal health care amendment details

GOP looks to weaken pre-existing condition guarantee Chip Somodevilla Getty Images Tom MacArthur
Ron Matthews | 04 May, 2017, 05:20

Republican leaders in the House of Representatives had tried to move a healthcare overhaul bill last month to make good on one of President Donald Trump's top campaign promises, but opposition from the party's conservative ranks helped doom the effort.

That seems unlikely, and Ryan reiterated that the House will vote when Republicans have enough support to win. When asked whether the House will vote next week on the health-care bill, he said, "We'll see".

Labrador refused to comment entirely. Through a federal waiver, insurers could be freed from a requirement to cover certain essential health benefits as defined by the federal government. So people with pre-existing conditions, like high blood pressure or diabetes, would pay significantly more for worse coverage.

The language was crafted jointly in recent days by Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., the co-chairman of the moderate Tuesday Group, and Meadows, who heads the Freedom Caucus, with White House officials involved in those conversations, the officials said.

Just weeks ago the GOP healthcare bill had to be pulled because conservatives and moderates bolted.

The moderate counterpart to the HFC is called the Tuesday Group.

But Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., remained a "no".

Don't blow it, Tuesday Group.

Opposition from many inside that group, who wanted a more robust repeal measure, along with skepticism from many Republican moderates, was pivotal to Ryan's decision last month to abruptly scrap a vote on the bill for lack of votes. But that was before Trump said he'd been surprised that health care was complicated. Don't worry about this phony 100 day thing.

Rep. Mike Coffman, a Republican from a swing district in Colorado, said he'd been supportive of leadership's first bill, but without seeing the amendment, which had not yet been leaked widely to the media, he said he didn't know where he stood on it. He and Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows authored the amendment.

Even if all House Freedom Caucus members are on board, GOP leaders will still need to the support from moderate Republicans.

"Essential benefits and all the other mandates may be affordable in a wealthy state, but unaffordable in a poorer state like MS or Alabama that causes people to go from some insurance to no health insurance", Brooks said. In other words, with Freedom Caucus members on board, the vote definitely got a lot closer - but now it's in the hands of the moderates, who will have to decide whether voting with their party will be too politically risky in their constituencies.

States trying to opt-out of community rating would also be required to set up high-risk pools or allow people with pre-existing conditions to join a federal pool. Some waivers could be in place as early as next year.

In one point of contention, the proposed changes would exempt members and staffers of Congress if their states obtain waivers to Obama's coverage mandates. The original bill would have turned over those regulations completely to the states.

The means would be passage of a bill that could put diseased people newly at risk while limiting the political risks of Republican House members-those being the priorities.

Although the Republicans' health care plan to repeal and replace Obamacare failed miserably, the new amendment introduced recently vastly favors Republican legislators. Many of their changes were accepted, according to multiple people involved at the White House and on Capitol Hill, although the specifics were not shared. And senior House Republicans and White House officials have nearly completely shut out doctors, hospitals, patient advocates and others who work in the healthcare system, industry officials say, despite pleas from many healthcare leaders to seek an alternative path that doesn't threaten protections for tens of millions of Americans.

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