The failure by President Donald Trump and House Republicans to agree on repealing Obamacare was one of the biggest setbacks of the president’s first 100 days in office, but a leader of the House conservatives said this week he expects a bill to repeal most aspects of Obamacare by the end of May.
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News, Rep. Mark Meadows, the North Carolina Republican who heads the House Freedom Caucus, said an agreement he negotiated with New Jersey Rep. Tom MacArthur would allow states to waive some key provisions in former President Barack Obama’s signature plan — and that must be giving Obama nightmares.
The MacArthur amendment would allow states to eliminate Obamacare’s “community rating” system, which prohibits health insurers from pricing health care plans based on age, gender or health status. However, states that repeal Obamacare’s community rating rules would have to join a federal high-risk pool or establish a local high-risk pool to obtain the waiver.
The new bill also includes a compromise on Obamacare’s “Essential Health Benefits” — basically a mandate that requires insurance plans to cover certain medical conditions and something conservatives were determined to get rid of.
Under the new bill, according to Breitbart, the “essential” benefits would stay, but states would be allowed to waive them if they could prove that by doing so they would lower premiums, increase the number of those insured, or “advance another benefit to the public interest in the state.”
“I think the waiver, while not a perfect solution, does provide an option to find common ground between more moderate and conservative elements of the Republican conference,” Meadows said.
The agreement will mean the end of Obamacare in many respects, Meadows said in a statement issued on behalf of the House Freedom Caucus.
“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 health care costs,” Meadows said in the statement.
Meadows told Breitbart that he fully expected to repeal most aspects of Obamacare by the end of May, adding that while the repeal’s failure might have been a black mark on the president’s first 100 days, it would still be seen as a “significant accomplishment” if it was done within 120 days or so.
It was not clear when the House would vote on the bill. CBS News reported that House Speaker Paul Ryan praised the agreement on Wednesday, but would not commit to a specific voting date.
“We’ll vote on it when we get the votes,” Ryan said, according to CBS.
In his interview with Breitbart, Meadows was more concrete.
“I fully expect that we will repeal most aspects of Obamacare by the end of May,” he said. “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish, as the song used to say. We will have an excellent finish.”
While nothing was yet set in stone, this is a promising outlook for a win for conservatives. Obama was notorious for crying fake tears during his presidency, but the tears he might cry over his legacy being shredded could be real.
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