House Republican leaders scrambled Thursday evening to muster enough votes to bring a health-care bill to the floor this week, even though the latest changes have intensified resistance among some moderates and key industry players.
The compromise that moderate Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) has forged with the conservative House Freedom Caucus brings the party closer to unwinding the 2010 Affordable Care Act, giving them more support than they had when they abruptly pulled the measure last month from a planned floor vote.
But it remains unclear whether leaders have garnered enough backing to pass it.
MacArthur’s amendment would allow states to opt out of two of the law’s central provisions: requiring coverage for “essential health benefits” such as maternity and preventive care and barring insurers from charging people with certain preexisting medical conditions more than others in their general insurance pool.
The changes run directly counter to what President Trump pledged during last year’s campaign and since his election, and many lawmakers from swing districts remain hesitant to endorse them. Both Affordable Care Act provisions enjoy significant public support, and the amendment does nothing to alter the roughly $880 million in Medicaid cuts outlined in the GOP’s American Health Care Act.
Outside of the Freedom Caucus, Republicans who had opposed the American Health Care Act grappled with the revised text. Most were still opposed or undecided.
“We’re taking a trillion bucks out and saying ‘good luck, states,’ ” said Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.), whose district covers Reno and most of rural Nevada. “That may provide money to do tax reform, but what you leave in my state is that when the legislature meets, it’s got about a quarter-of-a-billion-dollar shortfall.”
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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin and David Weigel