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Freedom Caucus meets with senators on ObamaCare replacement

Freedom Caucus meets with senators on ObamaCare replacement
© Greg Nash

Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus met separately with Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulLoeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection Rick Scott tests positive for coronavirus Overnight Defense: Formal negotiations inch forward on defense bill with Confederate base name language | Senators look to block B UAE arms sales | Trump administration imposes Iran sanctions over human rights abuses MORE (R-Ky.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) this week to discuss the senators’ ObamaCare replacement plans.

The Freedom Caucus has been a vocal proponent of having a replacement plan ready to pass at the same time as repeal, with its members searching for a plan by meeting with the two senators, each of whom have put forward bills.

The meeting with Cassidy, which came on Tuesday, is especially noteworthy given that Cassidy’s plan is perhaps the most centrist plan that a Republican has put forward so far. The Freedom Caucus's members, in contrast, are among the House's most conservative lawmakers.

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Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chairman of the Freedom Caucus, said that the Cassidy plan is not conservative enough, but that he appreciated Cassidy putting ideas on the table.

“Obviously it's not as conservative as many of us would like,” Meadows said.

Meadows pointed to the plan’s tax credits as problematic, but praised aspects like giving states more control over Medicaid.

The Cassidy plan, which the senator introduced along with Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTwo more parting shots from Trump aimed squarely at disabled workers Trump transition order follows chorus of GOP criticism The Memo: Trump election loss roils right MORE (R-Maine), allows states to choose to keep ObamaCare operating in their state. In another centrist feature, the plan keeps ObamaCare’s taxes in place to provide revenue for its replacement.

The meeting with Paul, whose politic s align with the conservative Freedom Caucus, came on Wednesday in the Rayburn Building office of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). Jordan, Meadows and Rep. Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarDemocrat O'Halleran wins reelection in Arizona House race Lil Jon slams Paul Gosar: 'Don't quote my songs' Hundreds of Trump supporters protest election results in Pennsylvania MORE (R-Ariz.) attended the gathering.

“Senator Paul has a very detailed proposal that has a lot of the parameters that many of us support,” Meadows said.

Paul’s plan repeals central elements of ObamaCare, including its mandates, and provides a tax credit of up to $5,000 to help people afford coverage.

Meadows said that between the two meetings and other conversations, "We're trying to figure out how we handle the Medicaid program, how we handle those that have a difficulty paying for insurance and pre-existing conditions.”

He said the issues are “something that we're making progress [on]; we're not there yet and hopefully we will be soon."