Republican Study Committee Lists Conservative Demands for Senate Health Care Bill

FILE - In this Feb. 12, 2015 file photo Laura San Nicolas, right, and her daughter Geena, wait to meet with an enrollment counselor to sign up for health insurance at Sacramento Covered in Sacramento, Calif. California's Democratically controlled government is looking at a defensive future under President-elect Donald Trump …
AP/Rich Pedroncelli

The conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC) drafted a letter to send to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) demanding that the Senate adopt the House’s more conservative health care reforms.

The letter, obtained by the Independent Journal Review, details the Committee’s concerns with the Senate’s bill to repeal Obamacare. The letter states, “We write to express our serious concerns regarding recent reports suggesting that the Senate’s efforts to produce a reconciliation bill repealing the Affordable Care Act are headed in a direction that may jeopardize final passage in the House of Representatives.”

The conservatives cheered the House’s health care discourse, noting that the “vigorous and robust debate” between members allowed for crucial changes that allowed the bill to pass. Meanwhile, the Senate has remained secretive about its health care bill despite reports that McConnell will have the Senate on the bill before the July 4th recess.

Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker (R-SC) wrote that there are four parts of the House’s Americans Health Care Act (AHCA) that remain crucial for House support of the bill. Walker says that the Senate bill should include:

  1. Prohibit new states from enrolling in Medicaid expansion and impose a three-year phase out of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. Reports show that the Senate might consider a seven-year rollback of Medicaid expansion.
  2. Allow states to waive onerous Obamacare regulations such as essential health benefits and community ratings through the MacArthur amendment. The CBO concludes that even moderate changes to these regulations would reduce premiums by 20 percent.
  3. Repeal Obamacare’s taxes as quickly as possible.
  4. Cut federal funding from Planned Parenthood for a year and include a Hyde amendment to ensure that Americans cannot use the bill’s tax credits for abortions.

The letter represents a stark contrast between the House and Senate Republicans’ competing visions for health care reform. House Republicans want a dramatic cut to Obamacare regulations and taxes, while Senate Republicans want a slower rollback of Medicaid and stronger protections for pre-existing conditions. Moderate GOP Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) would likely oppose cuts to Planned Parenthood.

Republican control a slim majority in the Senate and can only afford to lose two members in the upper chamber and have Vice President Mike Pence to break the tie.

GOP leaders face a complex problem, even if McConnell crafts a bill that can pass through the Senate. They will face more hurdles coming to a consensus in conference. Freedom Caucus chair Mark Meadows (R-NC) told Breitbart News that the Senate bill is a “non-starter” for him.

The letter concludes, warning that the Senate should adopt the more conservative policies realized in the House-passed bill.

The letter states, “We eagerly await the day when we can fulfill our promise to the American people and send legislation to the president’s desk repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. As the Senate continues its deliberative process, we urge you to carefully evaluate the American Health Care Act and consider the important role these specific policies played in building consensus in the House.”


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