Freedom Caucus to propose amendment to GOP healthcare bill

Freedom Caucus to propose amendment to GOP healthcare bill
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The House Freedom Caucus will propose an amendment to the GOP healthcare plan Friday that could bring negotiations between leadership and conservatives to a close if accepted, Chairman Mark Meadows said Wednesday. 
The North Carolina Republican wouldn't say what would be in the Friday amendment, only that he thinks it could lower premiums and bring conservatives and moderates together to support the GOP repeal bill. 
"We are trying to come up with an amendment that can not only be supported by conservatives but be supported by moderates alike," Meadows said. 
He said if the amendment is added to the bill, it would be a "pathway for the Freedom Caucus people to be a yes." 
The Freedom Caucus has opposed the GOP bill for keeping some ObamaCare provisions, including requirements that insurers cover people with pre-existing conditions and cover 10 essential health benefits such as prescription drug coverage and maternity care. 
Those provisions in particular make healthcare plans more expensive, they say. 
It's unclear if the amendment would include language cutting back on some of those insurer mandates and requirements, but Meadows has cited them previously as a driver of insurance costs. 
"We're trying to make it simple and say this is what it would require for us to be supportive of the measure and hopefully draw these negotiations to a close," Meadows said. 
Both moderates and conservatives also generally agree on adding Medicaid work requirements to the ObamaCare replacement bill. 
Meadows also said that based on a whip count of Freedom Caucus members, the GOP bill as it stands does not have the necessary votes to pass the House. 
The caucus has about 40 members, and leadership can only lose 21 members to pass the bill in the House. 
"The overwhelming majority, based on our whip this evening, was a lot stronger than we first anticipated," Meadows said. 
"I'm confident there are not enough votes to pass this bill in its current form."