Republican Study Committee pushes two changes to ObamaCare bill

Republican Study Committee pushes two changes to ObamaCare bill
© Greg Nash

The Republican Study Committee (RSC) is pushing two changes to the House GOP’s bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare, Chairman Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) told reporters Wednesday. 

The first is to change the structure of the tax credits in the bill to make them partially refundable. The second is freezing enrollment in ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion during the 115th Congress, which wraps up in January of 2018.

“Those two things — if we had some help in those two areas — then I'll go ahead and so for the first time [say] that we would be a hard yes. We'd love to have a unanimous steering committee voting yes on this,” Walker said.

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The RSC is the largest bloc of conservatives in Congress, running 172 members strong.

The House GOP health bill has faced criticism from conservative groups and members, with some calling the proposal “ObamaCare lite” and “ObamaCare 2.0.”

If the Republican Study Committee backs the bill, it could go a long way toward helping GOP leaders get the votes they will need to pass it.

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), the vice chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, will offer one of the changes Walker mentioned during a markup of the GOP bill Wednesday.

Barton said he would offer two amendments to the GOP's ObamaCare repeal and replace plan that would freeze the Medicaid expansion at the end of the year but continue the matching funds for the states until 2023.

The GOP's bill in its current form would end the match for 2020.

Barton will bring the amendments forward during bill's markup in the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Barton said if the amendments are accepted, it would go a "long way" toward gaining conservative support for the GOP plan.

"If they would accept my amendment or some version of it, it would go a long way to getting the conservatives to support the bill," Barton said Wednesday.

Barton said his amendments are popular "behind closed doors" and that leadership is open to it.

He's unsure if the amendments would pass in the Energy and Commerce Committee because Republicans are trying to fast track it to the floor. He wouldn’t say if he would offer it on the floor later.

"They want to get things to the Budget Committee as quickly as possible, get a CBO score, and then move to the Rules Committee. They want to move this package pretty quickly," he said.