House Republicans reveal health care amendment details
Apr 28 2017 by Irving Hamilton
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. The fresh backing from that group exhumed the bill from the legislative graveyard, but leaders need moderates who've resisted the effort to jump aboard.
Of course, the substance of the bill has dramatically changed.
Under the MacArthur Amendment, states will be allowed to seek limited waivers for essential health benefits such as maternity care and community raring rules.
Ryan said he expects the amendment to get the fractured Republican caucus closer to consensus, but he would not say when he expects the bill to get another full vote in the House.
"It is abundantly clear that the Republican Party has no idea how to ensure that the people of this country have affordable health care", Brandon Cwalina, press secretary for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, said. It might not be so bad for the sick, either, if the federal government properly subsidizes high-risk pools.
"The bigger-picture moral of the story is that even if this exemption gets taken out, members of Congress will still have protection for preexisting conditions, whereas it's no longer a guarantee for other people buying on the exchange", Cox said.
Even Mo Brooks of Alabama, a conservative who opposed the previous version, said he's considering the amendment.
While conservatives have gotten on board, a number of moderates remain unsold, voicing concerns over Medicaid expansion and pre-existing conditions. But that revolt hasn't happened yet ― at least not publicly. The risk pool would provide $15 billion over nine years, but with Trump and Congress proposing to cut hundreds of billions of dollars of ACA subsidies that help people afford insurance, this new fund would do next to nothing to mitigate the damage from the bill. "I don't know how much". As part of this special carve out, all 535 members of the House and Senate and tens of thousands of staff members were provided with "gold level" Obamacare coverage, with taxpayers picking up almost three-quarters of their costs. "I'm not looking at this through a political lens".
"We'll see, won't we?"
Rep. DesJarlais said, "Obamacare hit Tennessee hard". It did not, however, change the thinking of many House Republicans, who continue to believe individuals should be held financially liable for a genetic predisposition toward diabetes or a random cellular mutation that leads to cancer. The amendment moves the bill further to the right by giving states the option to roll back more of Obamacare's requirements.
Meadows, Collins said, stood up in the closed-door caucus meeting Wednesday morning and gave MacArthur a standing ovation.
"Donald Trump expressed his appreciation for the position I was taking", Brooks said Thursday. Brain Babin, Mike Coffman, and Ryan Costello.
A spokeswoman to Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Illinois, said that he is undecided on the bill.
An amendment released Tuesday night, authored by moderate Rep. Tom MacArthur, appeared to placate conservatives who did not think the original AHCA went far enough in its repeal of Obamacare.
Again, some of this may be a tactic for moderates to avoid the wrath of Trump.
Republicans have made ending Obamacare a major party rallying cry. It's much safer to publicly sound wishy-washy and privately oppose the bill.
There is still plenty of uncertainty, however, about whether or not the amendment gets the conference to the 216 votes that are still needed to repeal and replace Obamacare.
"Certainly, I've often felt that a lot of this has simply been an exercise in blame-shifting", Dent said.