House Republicans Close to an Obamacare Repeal Deal

Tom-MacArthur Getty

House Freedom Caucus and moderate Republicans are edging closer to a deal on repealing Obamacare.

The agreement, brokered by House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Tuesday Group co-chairman Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), would allow states to eliminate Obamacare’s community rating system, a rule that prohibits health insurers from pricing health care plans based on age, gender, or health status. States that repeal Obamacare’s community rating rules would have to join a federal high-risk pool or establish a local high-risk pool to obtain the waiver.

The deal, known as the MacArthur amendment, would also reinstate Obamacare’s Essential Health Benefits, although states could waive Obamacare’s Essential Health Benefits if they were to prove that eliminating those regulations would lower premiums, increase the number of people insured, or “advance another benefit to the public interest in the state.”

Essential Health Benefits require that health insurance plans must cover certain services such as doctors’ services, inpatient or outpatient hospital care, prescription drugs, pregnancy, childbirth, and mental health.

House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows explained to Breitbart News exclusively earlier this month that he expected House Republicans to unite around common principles and pass an Obamacare repeal that will lower premiums for Americans soon.

Meadows told Breitbart News:

I’m optimistic that we’ve at least found some potential common ground. Conservative requests and those from those that represent districts that may have a more moderate constituency don’t want to suggest anything other than the discussions have been extremely good over the last 72 hours and the pre-existing conditions that must be addressed on behalf of the president and certainly most members of our GOP conference including myself, that issue is where we’re working very diligently to make sure we cover it in the legislation but then we also cover it in a number of ways whether it be through a risk-sharing pool or through a guaranteed issue provision that’s out there. So, we still believe providing waivers at the state level from many of the Obamacare mandates that drive up costs might be a real path forward so I would say that conversations between moderates and conservatives are very constructive and it’s been due in no small part to the active involvement of the White House and leadership in trying to make sure we get a good bill—a better bill—going forward over to the Senate.

Meadows also predicted that the renewed negotiations would create a better Obamacare repeal bill.

Meadows said:

I can tell you the president has communicated to me on more than four different occasions that he wants the very best bill possible for the American people and that he believes that not only will we get a better bill but with everyone’s input—not just conservative members, but conservatives, moderates and those that are in between—that we’ll get a better bill and we’ll shock the American people when they actually see their healthcare insurance premiums come down. I’m confident we’re going to get there mainly because the president literally not only wants to repeal and replace Obamacare, but the other part of that is he wants to drive down premiums for all Americans.

Freedom Caucus sources say that that the MacArthur amendment would secure 25 to 30 more votes from conservatives and that the new bill would get “very close” to 216 votes. Sources revealed that 18 to 20 of those “yes” vote would be new.

House leadership scheduled a conference call this Saturday with rank-and-file members of the GOP to discuss the MacArthur Amendment. Speaker Ryan suggested that Republicans are close to a deal on repealing Obamacare. He said, “We’re in the midst of negotiating sort of finishing touches.”