After weeks of fits and starts, Obamacare repeal may be back on the table. According to the Huffington Post, the chair fo the House Freedom Caucus, Mark Meadows and Tuesday Group co-chairman Tom MacArthur have reached a tentative Trumpcare deal. But while the two Republican lawmakers say they are nearing a deal on changes to the ObamaCare replacement bill that could move the measure closer to passage, doubts remain.
According to a summary of the amendment posted by Politico, states would have the option to apply for waivers to allow them to repeal one of ObamaCare’s core protections for people with pre-existing conditions,. That means insurers would no longer be prevented from charging people with pre-existing conditions higher premiums because of their illness. The measure would also allow states to repeal ObamaCare’s essential health benefits, which mandate that insurers cover a range of health services, including mental health and prescription drugs.
Additionally, benefits like prescription drug coverage, pregnancy and mental health services would be included again in the bill, but states could get a waiver for that too if they prove it would lower premiums, or provide some other benefit to people.
Yet while the new agreement could find support among more conservatives, moderates are likely to remain an obstacle according to the Hill.
“There’s no deal,” said an aide to a moderate House GOP lawmaker. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they started to lose more moderates” because of the new changes, he added.
Many Republicans objected to similar changes that were discussed before the recess earlier this month. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), the chief deputy GOP whip, called similar changes earlier this month a “bridge too far for our members.”
He said that he and much of the Republican conference wanted to maintain ObamaCare’s community rating protection for people with pre-existing conditions. Many moderate Republican lawmakers also pledged to protect that provision at town halls over the recess.
These new changes will be a test of whether moderate Republicans lawmakers will hold to that position.
Conservatives argue that funding for high-risk pools will allow for people with pre-existing conditions to get coverage. Democrats counter that high-risk pools were underfunded and did not work before ObamaCare. The new amendment would also not change deep Medicaid cuts and coverage losses that moderates have objected to.
A previously scheduled conference call for all House GOP lawmakers on Saturday will be a chance to discuss the changes.