Club for Growth, FreedomWorks throw support behind latest GOP health plan

Two influential conservative groups that opposed the GOP’s original ObamaCare repeal-and-replace plan will now support the latest version of it.

Club for Growth and FreedomWorks on Wednesday announced their support for the American Health Care Act after seeing proposed text of an amendment that would make conservative changes to the bill.

The amendment, drafted by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) of the moderate Tuesday Group and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) of the conservative Freedom Caucus, would allow states to waiver out of some ObamaCare regulations.

“Today, we believe the hard work of Meadows and MacArthur facilitated by Vice President Mike Pence, has yielded a compromise that the Club for Growth can support,” Club for Growth President David McIntosh said in a statement.

{mosads}The bill is “still short of a full repeal,” McIntosh said, adding that “this latest agreement would give states the chance to opt out of some of ObamaCare’s costliest regulations, opening the way to greater choice and lower insurance premiums.”

FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon also urged for the amendment to be adopted.

“If the MacArthur-Meadows amendment were adopted, we would immediately withdraw our key vote against the American Health Care Act,” he said.

Several members of the Freedom Caucus have said they will support the bill with the new amendment, but moderates don’t appear to be swayed.

Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), co-chairman of the Tuesday Group, and Reps. Dan Donovan (R-N.Y.), Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) and Illeana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) have all said they’re still opposed to the bill.

The MacArthur-Meadows amendment would allow states to apply for a waiver from ObamaCare’s “community rating” requirement, which prevents insurers from charging premiums based on customers’ health.

Insurers would then be allowed to charge people with pre-existing conditions much higher premiums due to their illnesses, putting coverage out of reach for some.

The amendment would also allow states to apply for a waiver for ObamaCare’s essential health benefits, which mandate that all insurance plans cover certain services, such as mental health and prescription drug benefits.

States could also apply for a waiver to loosen restrictions on how much more older people can be charged than younger people.

States would either have to establish a high-risk pool for people whose health would affect their insurance costs or participate in the federal pool in order to waive the community rating.

But Democrats argue high-risk pools have been underfunded and don’t work. People with pre-existing conditions would also still be protected if they maintained continuous coverage, meaning they had no gaps in coverage.

–This report was updated at 10:44 a.m.

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