The House Freedom Caucus, which last month banded together to block a House Republican effort to overhaul Obamacare, has decided that a revised plan to modify the health care law is good enough to support.
The revised proposal includes an amendment that allows states to opt out of major portions of Obamacare.
The amendment was developed through the work of Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J.
The amendment lets states apply for waivers from an Obamacare provision that will not allow insurers to charge higher premiums for sick people and from another that mandates minimum insurance coverage requirements. Instead, states can offer high-risk pools as an alternative.
— The Hill (@thehill) April 26, 2017
“While the revised version still does not fully repeal Obamacare, we are prepared to support it to keep our promise to the American people to lower healthcare costs,” the Freedom Caucus said in a statement.
“We look forward to working with our Senate colleagues to improve the bill. Our work will continue until we fully repeal Obamacare.”
One conservative group seconded the Freedom Caucus.
“While we’re still short of full repeal, this latest agreement would give states the chance to opt out of some of Obamacare’s costliest regulations, opening the way to greater choice and lower insurance premiums,” Club for Growth President David McIntire said in a statement.
Now that conservatives are on board, the question remains whether a sufficient number of moderate Republicans will join them to pass the legislation.
“We think the MacArthur amendment is a great way to lower premiums, give states more flexibility, while protecting people with preexisting conditions,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., said Wednesday. “We think it’s constructive.”
Ryan said the amendment “helps us get to consensus” but did not say how close Republicans are to the 216 votes needed to pass the measure.
However, Rep. Ryan Costello, R-Pa., said that the changes made to attract conservatives represented, to him, the kind of concerns that “obviously make me have to think long and hard about it.”
“We as a team all recognize we need to get to yes. The devil’s in the details of getting there,” said Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., a moderate who supports the bill.