Freedom Caucus chair opposes ObamaCare funding pushed by GOP senator

Freedom Caucus chair opposes ObamaCare funding pushed by GOP senator

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsThe Hill's Morning Report — Mueller aftermath: What will House Dems do now? Mueller report poses new test for Dems Washington in frenzy over release of Mueller report MORE (R-N.C.) said Wednesday that he opposes ObamaCare funding known as "reinsurance" that was part of a commitment given to Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMcConnell pledges to be 'Grim Reaper' for progressive policies Senate Republicans tested on Trump support after Mueller Collins: Mueller report includes 'an unflattering portrayal' of Trump MORE (R-Maine) to help gain her vote for tax reform.

"That's a totally different thing because that actually puts more money into a failing system where the money will not actually lower premiums and reduce costs in a substantial way," Meadows told The Hill. "I think that's a bigger problem."

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Meadows's objections, and those among House Republicans more broadly, could be an obstacle to the deal that Collins worked out on Tuesday.

Collins said that President Trump had agreed to support the reinsurance funding, as well as another bill from Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderThe Higher Education Act must protect free speech Embattled senators fill coffers ahead of 2020 GOP senators divided on Trump trade pushback MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayHillicon Valley: Washington preps for Mueller report | Barr to hold Thursday presser | Lawmakers dive into AI ethics | FCC chair moves to block China Mobile | Dem bill targets 'digital divide' | Microsoft denies request for facial recognition tech Dems introduce bill to tackle 'digital divide' Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates MORE (D-Wash.), to help assuage her concerns about repealing ObamaCare's individual mandate in the tax bill.

Senators said those two ObamaCare bills could be added to a must-pass government funding bill after the tax bill passes the Senate. But Meadows's objections are an obstacle in that situation.

Reinsurance is government funding that helps pay for the cost of sick enrollees, with the intention of bringing down premiums. But conservatives oppose it as simply throwing more money at the health-care law.

Meadows was more open to the Alexander-Murray bill, but said that he wanted certain concessions for Republicans on that before adding it to a short-term government funding bill, known as a continuing resolution (CR).

"The Alexander-Murray bill, the problem with it is that it was more give on Sen. Alexander's part than Sen. Murray's part, so suggesting that Sen. Murray would perhaps be a little bit more engaging in the negotiation, I would certainly be willing to [work with them]," Meadows said.

The Alexander-Murray bill funds key payments to insurers for two years in exchange for more flexibility for states. But conservatives say the flexibility in the bill currently is not substantial. 

Meadows said Wednesday he is willing to work on the issue.

"I think with the CR really at this point, I've been one that's been willing to work with our Senate colleagues on a CR," he said.