Healthcare

Koch network urges lawmakers to back ‘personal option’ health plan

Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce

A group backed by the wealthy conservative donor Charles Koch is pushing lawmakers in Washington to consider a new alternative to the health care reform supported by the Biden administration.

CNBC reported on Tuesday that Americans for Prosperity, a group financially backed by the Koch network, is pushing both GOP lawmakers as well as some Democrats to consider a plan as an alternative to Biden’s push for a “public option,” or a government-backed health care plan that Americans could opt into.

A person familiar with the efforts told CNBC that lawmakers targeted in the outreach effort included House members such as Reps. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), while conservative Democrats, including Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), were also reportedly on the list.

Dean Clancy, Americans for Prosperity’s senior health policy fellow, added to CNBC that the push was building on the failures of Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act in 2017; that effort famously failed when the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) killed the effort on the Senate floor, with many citing the GOP’s lack of viable plan to cover those who would have been thrown off their insurance by the repeal.

“I think our side failed in 2017 to lead with our positive alternative when the public was never fully persuaded of a total repeal,” Clancy told the news network.

“A majority or near majority didn’t like the reform but people were divided on what to do. Repair was always the largest area of support. Repeal had less support and why? Because our side didn’t explain our positive alternative more effectively,” he added.

The effort comes as part of the Koch network’s efforts to build bipartisan relations under President Biden’s administration, as well as the group’s warning in January that it would think twice about supporting lawmakers it saw as complicit in the deadly Jan. 6 riot on the Capitol. That move was seen as a sign of a growing rift between the wealthy conservative network and former President Trump’s wing of the GOP.

“Lawmakers’ actions leading up to and during last week’s insurrection will weigh heavy in our evaluation of future support. And we will continue to look for ways to support those policymakers who reject the politics of division and work together to move our country forward,” the CEO of Americans for Prosperity told The Hill in a statement in mid-January.

–This article was updated to correct an error related to ownership of the Koch network.

Tags Affordable Care Act replacement proposals Dan Crenshaw David Koch Donald Trump Health care reform Joe Biden Joe Manchin John McCain koch network
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