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April 06, 2017

Mark Meadows: The Freedom Caucus Could Support the AHCA If It Included the Provisions Proposed by Pence

Deal in the making?

Ed Morrissey reports:

"Just to be frank, we’ll make news here this morning," Meadows told Jake Sherman. "If those offers that were made over the last couple of days appear in the legislation, the majority -- if not almost all of the Freedom Caucus -- will vote for this bill." The biggest issue for the HFC, Meadows insists, is that the final version of the AHCA has to bring down premiums immediately rather than wait for three or more years for the market to catch up. "The primary objective has been, will be, always will be lower insurance premiums,” Meadows explained. "If we don't do that, we will have failed."

The HFC wants a waiver for states on essential health benefits -- which had already been offered prior to pulling the bill when moderates balked -- and on guaranteed issue and community rating, with the exception of gender for the latter. Meadows is right about these problems; the combination of mandates on insurers and individuals partnered with community rating restrictions has so greatly distorted proper risk assessment that prices skyrocketed for everyone. If states want to impose those, let them -- and let them deal with the backlash from their own electorates.

Meadows' idea that we must bring down premiums immediately seems politically sensible. I'm convinced the Democrats required alleged "comprehensive" health care coverage (even though it was actually catastrophic coverage in expensive disguise) because they wanted to show their client-voters some deliverables right up front -- catastrophic insurance only pays in cases of catastrophe (big medical bills from a major condition) and does not pay for routine check-ups and visits. It's paying for routine stuff that everyone uses all the time that bloats the coast, but the Democrats wanted to give an immediate deliverable to their poorest client-voters by subsidizing the sort of thing for them.

Well, likewise, it makes sense to give people looking for reductions in health care premiums an immediate deliverable.

There are a few problems: "moderate" GOP members may be the new defectors if a Freedom Caucus-approved plan is put forward. "The left wing among House Republicans doesn't want to compromise or keep their pledge to voters to repeal Obamacare," the president of Club for Growth charged.

And the issue of waivers will be tricky (see Ed's post). Still, Yuval Levin thinks this latest round of negotiations has brought the factions closer to a deal.

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posted by Ace at 03:50 PM

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