House Freedom chairman calls ObamaCare deal 'good start'

House Freedom chairman calls ObamaCare deal 'good start'

The chairman of the powerful House Freedom Caucus said more work needs to be done to get conservatives to support a bipartisan Senate deal to extend critical ObamaCare payments to insurers, but he called it a starting point.

“There are elements in the Alexander-Murray plan that we can build on, but much more work needs to be done,” Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C) in a statement, but he called it a "good start."

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The proposal worked out by Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderLiberal group urges Senate panel to vote against Scalia as Labor secretary Suburban anxiety drives GOP on guns Push on 'surprise' medical bills hits new roadblocks MORE (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: Juul's lobbying efforts fall short as Trump moves to ban flavored e-cigarettes | Facebook removes fact check from anti-abortion video after criticism | Poll: Most Democrats want presidential candidate who would build on ObamaCare Trump's sinking polls embolden Democrats to play hardball Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall MORE (D-Wash.) would extend payments compensating insurers for lowering the out-of-pockets costs of certain ObamaCare enrollees for two years.

Murray and Alexander said the deal isn’t final yet, but they hope to present it to Senate leaders by the end of the week.

Trump announced last week he was ending the payments, known as cost-sharing reductions, arguing the Obama administration never had the power to make them.

“Expanding health savings accounts, providing for limited duration plans, and giving states more flexibility on waivers are all positive changes to the current system,” Meadows said.

The statement from Meadows doesn’t mean the Freedom Caucus has taken an official position on the plan, but the fact that Meadows did not reject the deal outright could be significant, as Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanThree-way clash set to dominate Democratic debate Krystal Ball touts Sanders odds in Texas Republicans pour cold water on Trump's term limit idea MORE (R-Wis.) is expected to run into serious opposition from fellow Republicans if the bill advances to the House.

And Meadows’s comments were much more measured than Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), chairman of the Republican Study Commission.

Walker said the proposal was an “unacceptable bailout” of ObamaCare that would prop up the law Republicans have vowed to repeal.