Changes to GOP ObamaCare repeal flips some conservatives

Changes to GOP ObamaCare repeal flips some conservatives
© Greg Nash

A proposed amendment to the House GOP's ObamaCare repeal bill appears to be flipping some conservative lawmakers in its favor.

Rep. David Brat (R-Va.), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, told reporters Tuesday evening that he would likely support the American Health Care Act (AHCA) as long as discussions on what would be in the amendment appear in the legislative text.

"If it shows up in the language the way we discussed it, then yes," Brat said.

Asked if other Freedom Caucus members would support the bill, he said he didn't want to speak for anyone else.

But, he said, the compromise being discussed is "very promising, and a lot of people like it."

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While Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) declined to comment to reporters Tuesday, The Washington Post reports that they are now supportive of the bill.

The amendment, worked out between Reps. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.), co-chairman of the moderate Tuesday Group, and Meadows, would allow states to seek waivers from some ObamaCare requirements: essential health benefits, which mandate which services insurers must cover, and community rating, which prohibits insurers from charging premiums based on customers' health.

Conservatives say cutting those regulations would drive down premiums. But those changes will likely do nothing to bring moderates on board.

Several members of the Tuesday Group initially opposed the AHCA because it ended ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion and would potentially cause millions to lose healthcare coverage.

Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), another co-chairman of the Tuesday Group, told reporters Tuesday that he is still a no on the bill regardless of the amendment.

"It does nothing to change my vote. I was a no before. Still a no," he said.

Moderate Republican Reps. Leonard Lance (N.J.), Dan Donovan (N.Y.) and Frank LoBiondo (N.J.) have all said they are still voting no on the bill after reviewing the potential changes.