Moderates balk at conservative-backed, revised health bill

Posted April 28, 2017

The Freedom Caucus took the blame, fairly or not, for tanking the original House health-care bill last month. That amendment keeps numerous rules from Obamacare in place, but it gives individual states the right to choose to opt out of certain provisions from Obamacare that were left in place. It would allow insurers to charge them more for coverage, and also it would let insurers once again offer skimpy policies. "We want to bring down costs; we want to preserve insurance for people with pre-existing conditions and we want to respect the fact that states have different issues, different health care marketplaces and we want to give states greater flexibility to get the maximum reduction in policies and premiums so we can get the best possible health care system". That amendment won over the conservative House Freedom Caucus, which officially announced Wednesday that it would support the revised measure.

If they end up signing off, it'll only toss the hot potato to a third player - the Senate. The Freedom Caucus was seen as instrumental in the defeat of the first bill. "The Dems need big money to keep it going - otherwise it dies far sooner than anyone would have thought".

Phil Novack, a spokesman for Sen. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., who has championed the ACA's repeal for years, canceled a vote on the American Health Care Act shortly before the roll call was to begin because the chamber's Republican majority was so splintered.

"I'm confident that we'll be able to pass a short-term extension", he said.

WaPo asked voters about the outline of the Freedom Caucus plan in its most recent poll.

Even if the exemption gets removed, members of Congress, their relatives and staffers with preexisting conditions would still be protected because a provision in the Affordable Care Act requires them to buy their insurance through the small business market in the District of Columbia.

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. In which case, if you're a moderate, what do you do?

"We think it's very constructive" Ryan said of the proposed revisions.

There's a chance the House could vote tomorrow, if Ryan thinks he has the votes, of course.

The new proposal would allow members of Congress, their families and their employees to have access to the same list of benefits that Obamacare guarantees, and insurance companies couldn't charge them more if they were old or sick.

But Representative Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, a leading Republican centrist, says that he believes most moderates remain opposed.

The Freedom Caucus turnabout also shifts pressure for passing the bill - a top priority for the GOP - onto party moderates. There's a group of House Republicans, about 303, who never signaled either way where they stood on the AHCA when it first came up. Now, they may have to show their cards. "I've said before, I have introduced and amendment as an individual member of Congress and, I'm not speaking for other groups and you'll have to talk to other members of the Tuesday Group what their view is".

There was a clear upsurge in conservative support for the bill, with even Sen. No telling yet where the potato will ultimately land, but we can probably safely rule out Trump's desk.

Another concern is the estimate that millions of people would lose their health care coverage as a result of the bill.

Some people agree. A 51-year-old Republican businessman in CT, who recently sold a group of restaurants, said that his dishwashers and servers were able to buy relatively skimpy, low-priced "catastrophic" health plans before the ACA.