House conservatives warn against weakening ObamaCare repeal bill

House conservatives warn against weakening ObamaCare repeal bill
© Greg Nash

Two top House conservatives are calling on Republican leadership to bring up for a vote the ObamaCare repeal bill that passed early last year, worrying that the party could pass a smaller bill that repeals less of the law.

The bill that passed early last year and was vetoed by President Obama repeals many core elements of ObamaCare, including its subsidies, mandates, taxes and Medicaid expansion.

Conservatives are now arguing that last year’s bill should be the minimum that Republicans pass this year, fearing that the party could decide to keep more elements of ObamaCare as it faces the political and policy complexities of repealing the law.

"We committed to the American people to repeal every tax, every mandate, the regulations, and to defund Planned Parenthood," Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the former chairman, said in a statement Thursday.

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"That's what the American people expect us to do — and they expect us to do it quickly. Therefore we strongly encourage Republican leadership on Capitol Hill to take up the Affordable Care Act repeal bill that already passed the House, the Senate, and went to President Obama's desk in early 2016."

Now that Donald Trump is president and the repeal bill can actually become law, Republicans are facing a more fraught situation. But Meadows and Jordan say the party should not water down its repeal bill.

"There's no reason we should put anything less on President TrumpDonald TrumpSenate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale Crenshaw slams House Freedom Caucus members as 'grifters,' 'performance artists' Senate confirms Biden's nominee to lead Customs and Border Protection MORE's desk than we put on President Obama's now that we know it will be signed into law," the lawmakers said.

"We strongly encourage that this bill be brought to the floor for consideration as soon as possible so we can begin undoing this law that is hurting American families."

Some Republicans, in contrast, have started talking about "repair" of ObamaCare and saying that some elements of the healthcare law will remain.

The statement from conservatives Thursday is an indication of the difficulty Republicans face in finding a sweet spot that can win support from conservatives and centrists in their party.

Meadows has also called for a replacement bill to be passed at the same time as repeal, though he did not include that point in his statement Thursday.