Conservative Freedom Caucus backs GOP health bill

House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the American Health Care Act from a floor vote twice last month because of strong opposition from Freedom Caucus members.

According to a senior GOP aide, leaders were already promising Wednesday morning that once the health care bill as passed, members of Congress would vote separately to ensure that members wouldn't be exempted from the new rules, but it's a rocky start for an amendment that was meant to get Republicans back on track to repeal and replace Obamacare. "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.

The developments follow a weekend of intense private discussions among various blocs that previously balked at the House GOP leadership plan, which Trump embraced. "We'll vote on it when we get the votes", he said. So who's right? The truth is a bit confusing, but after consulting with several sources on Capitol Hill, I believe we can offer some clarity.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., denounced this portion of the bill. Both conservative and moderate members objected to the original legislation and negotiators have been working on changes for the past weeks.

The amendment unveiled Tuesday was negotiated between Rep. Tom MacArthur, a New Jersey moderate, and conservative House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows of North Carolina.

States that requested these waivers would be required to put in place protections to minimize cost increases for those with pre-existing conditions, such as high risk pools.

"This week, next week, we don't know", White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said Tuesday.

Meadows is the chair of the Freedom Caucus, a conservative group of more than 30 Republicans, many of whom helped to sink the first attempt at health care last month.

"I may have", is all Rep. Raúl R. Labrador (R-Idaho) would say when asked whether he's made a decision to support a revised health-care package.

And Rep. Dave Brat, R-Virginia, who was also a critic, said that he is now "looking forward" to voting for the bill. They also say high-risk pools have a history of being underfunded.

The top House Democrat is accusing the Trump administration of "cruelly threatening to raise health premiums" for millions as a disagreement about payments to insurers under the health care law jolted talks on a bill to keep the government open.

The measure also ran into a new problem just hours after the text of the legislation was released.

The latest GOP proposal would allow states to opt out of the Affordable Care Act's requirement that health plans cover basic medical benefits, among other other rules. "Members of Congress and their staff would get the guarantee of keeping these ObamaCare regulations". There are still questions of whether the amendment will actually get Republican leaders any closer to passing their health care bill.

While conservatives have gotten on board, a number of moderates remain unsold, voicing concerns over Medicaid expansion and pre-existing conditions.

At the same time, Ryan would not commit to scheduling a vote on the measure.

Many conservatives are endorsing that proposal. John McCain, R-Ariz., said that failing to do so is the GOP's fault.

"Same concerns, and this didn't really address them", said Dent, who like Jordan said he'd not yet seen legislative details.

This amendment is part of a larger bill that would unwind Obamacare and all of its taxes, including the tax on couples making more than $250,000.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Leading House conservatives are saying good things about a plan to revive the GOP health care bill.

Democrats are already preparing attacks on Republicans for supporting this new version of the bill.

Doctors say the recent compromises among Republican hardliners and party moderates would allow insurers to deny treatment to patients struggling with addiction and make health care more expensive for older adults. "As proof of the repeal bill's devastating impact, Republican Members of Congress are exempting themselves from the punishment they are willing to inflict on their constituents".

  • Larry Hoffman