House Republicans are divulging new details about their approach to fulfilling a key party promise in repealing and replacing Obamacare, one that will likely see them create amendments to the controversial American Health Care Act that would appeal to the Freedom Caucus members who opposed it.
An agreement between conservative Freedom Caucus leader Mark Meadows and moderate Tuesday Group co-chair Tom MacArthur resulted in the MacArthur Amendment, which would modify the AHCA to preserve certain acceptable provisions of Obamacare while giving states more latitude to opt out of others.
Affordable Care Act protections for those who have pre-existing conditions would be maintained, for example, but states would also have the ability to apply for “limited waivers” that would let them shirk Obamacare standards for health care plan minimums. States could also choose to give insurers more flexibility to adjust prices depending on a client’s health status.
Sources close to the matter believe that the MacArthur Amendment could help the revised AHCA secure up to 30 more “yes” votes from the Freedom Caucus, inching it ever so closer to the 216-vote threshold required for passage.
On Wednesday, Speaker Paul Ryan expressed confidence in the GOP’s ability to repeal and replace Obamacare despite the fact that he was forced to cancel a House vote on the doomed AHCA back in March.
“We want to have a system in America where everyone has affordable access to good health insurance… including people with pre-existing conditions,” he told the Policy Exchange think tank in London. “That is not what the current law does and it’s just gonna take us a little time to make good on that.”
As for why the Republicans are committed to wrapping up health care before moving on to tax reform, Ryan explained that it would be simpler to do it in that order since repealing Obamacare will also entail slashing $1 trillion in taxes.