The chairman of the House Freedom Caucus (HFC) spoke to Breitbart News on Thursday after his meeting with Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and three senior aides to President Trump. The topic was the final attempt to modify the American Health Care Act before the House vote on Friday.
“The principles of a deal have been defined – an agreement? The details of the agreement are the most fundamental question, and that is what we are working on,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), who met with Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s chief strategist; Reince Priebus, his chief of staff; and Mick Mulvaney, his budget director.
Meadows said the House Freedom Caucus welcomed the compromise from the president that the Essential Health Benefits (EHB) provision in the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be stripped away.
Removal of the EHB does not cover sufferers, he said. “Instead of four or five plans, you can have 10 or 20.” The EHB forced a 60-year-old man to pay for maternity coverage, among other things, because it was part of the required benefits every plan had to provide.
Other issues are the series of mandates and rules that hinder the way an insurance company manages risk or just runs its business, such as the requirement that companies must spend at least 80 percent of their premium revenues on health care or the rule that restricts companies from charging older customers more than three times what they charge their youngest customers.
“Without getting into the details of what we are negotiating, we’re trying to make sure the high-risk pools are really very functional and provide a way for some of those more expensive healthcare issues to be handled on a state basis with their private insurers,” he said.
Meadows was joined by fellow HFC member Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) on Fox News Wednesday night, where the two men told host Sean Hannity that the House Freedom Caucus reached a deal with Trump. Somehow, that momentum coming out of Wednesday night stalled.
“I think we hit some bumps as it related to the type of policies and the details about those policies,” Meadows said. “The belief was that that would attract enough votes.”
A Capitol Hill source told Breitbart News that at the 7 p.m. meeting of the House Republican Conference, the speaker saluted Meadows and the House Freedom Caucus for improving the American Health Care Act.
The speaker told his members he expects every Republican to support the bill because it does as much as can be done.
The congressman said his bloc of House conservatives is still enough to keep Ryan from reaching 216 votes from the 237 GOP congressmen. There is no expectation of picking up any of the 193 House Democrats. “I think there are a few people who have moved into undecided or yes but not a substantial number yet,” he said.