Washington, D.C. – Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) released the following statement on the confirmation of Mick Mulvaney as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB):
“The House’s loss is President Trump’s gain. In my time serving in Congress, Mick Mulvaney is truly one of the sharpest minds and most principled men I have come to know. His passion for his work and his relentless commitment to fiscal responsibility will make him a tremendous OMB director. I’m proud to call him my friend. I congratulate Mick on his confirmation, and I commend President Trump on his outstanding selection.”
Washington, D.C.— On Thursday, the Senate voted to confirm Mick Mulvaney, a House Freedom Caucus founding member, as Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The Freedom Caucus released the following statement:
“The appointment of Mick Mulvaney as Director of the Office of Management and Budget sends a strong message that the Trump Administration is serious about tackling our national debt. We can think of no one better suited for this critically important role and wish him all the best in his new position. Congratulations to our friend Mick Mulvaney on his confirmation.”
Mission statement of the House Freedom Caucus:
“The House Freedom Caucus gives a voice to countless Americans who feel that Washington does not represent them. We support open, accountable and limited government, the Constitution and the rule of law, and policies that promote the liberty, safety, and prosperity of all Americans.”
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) released the following statement on Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and Rep. Mark Sanford’s (R-SC) Obamacare replacement plan—endorsed by the House Freedom Caucus.
“I applaud my colleagues Senator Paul and Representative Sanford for their efforts in crafting this healthcare reform bill. The need for fundamentally sound healthcare alternatives right now is absolutely critical--Obamacare has been a disaster from the beginning, and Americans can no longer sustain the crushing weight of its failures.
Furthermore, the speculation on what a replacement will look like has created an unnecessary climate of anxiety in this discussion. As members of Congress, we have a responsibility to reassure Americans—particularly those with preexisting conditions—that they will be protected under a new system. I commend Senator Paul and Representative Sanford for releasing a plan so that we can move toward debating the issues at hand and ultimately keeping our promises to the people.”
Conservative Republicans on Wednesday staked out their position on a proposed replacement to the 2010 health care law. But their views are likely to muddle the path toward GOP consensus.
“Conservatives have come together to say that this is the replacement plan that we not only want to promote but debate and hopefully fine-tune,” said North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, the caucus chairman.
The measure, titled the Obamacare Replacement Act, aims to de-link insurance coverage from employment and remove minimum coverage mandates, allowing consumers to purchase plans that fit their individual needs.
“This bill, like no other, empowers the consumer and emboldens the marketplace,” Sanford said.
The proposal would provide a two-year enrollment period for people with pre-existing conditions, in which they would be able to sign up for an insurance plan without fear of cancellation, and includes a continuous coverage provision to provide those individuals with the ability to move plans if their employment situation changes.
To help individuals pay for insurance, the plan calls for a nonrefundable tax deduction and expanded access to and use of health savings accounts that would allow individuals to use those tax-exempt funds for “vitamins, weight loss, you name it,” Paul said.
Sanford said the proposal represents an “inflection point.”
“This is not about replacing the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare,” he said, although the title of the legislation suggests otherwise. “This is about where we go next in terms of health care so that people are in control.”
Paul said the bill includes policy ideas Republicans all agree on, while leaving out controversial elements like Medicaid expansion. But there are still parts of the plan that are out of step with other GOP proposals, including the House Republicans’ “Better Way” blueprint.
For example, the Better Way plan calls for a refundable tax credit to help people purchase insurance in the individual marketplace. That idea is “essentially a subsidy by another name,” Paul said.
Meadows agreed, saying that it amounts to the creation of a new entitlement program and that refundable tax credits are susceptible to fraud. “I think the refundable tax credit is very problematic to get to 218 votes” in the House, the North Carolina Republican said.
Paul and Sanford have modeled their tax deduction for individuals purchasing insurance off the one employers get now for providing coverage to their employees. To pay for it, Paul said he does not want to raise taxes; he’d rather cut government spending. “Why don’t we have a tax cut and a spending cut?” he said.
That offset idea would definitely not fly with Democrats, but many Republicans also believe tax cuts should be paid for with corresponding revenue increases.
The conservatives’ proposal does not include a mandate that insurers allow children to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26, a component of the health care law that President Donald Trump, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and other GOP leaders have said they would keep.
“We believe when you have a number of different options, that the markets will be able to provide that much cheaper than what they’re doing now because people 26 years of age and younger are healthy,” Meadows said. “So having that as an option where a health provider says, ‘You can cover your adult child for a nominal premium’ — when you really look at the actuarial tables, it would be a lower cost.”
Still, Meadows acknowledged that Republicans are still not on the same page regarding a replacement plan, even as House lawmakers are holding breakout sessions to dig into strategy and policy details.
“I don’t know that it’s brought any more consensus as much as it’s brought more questions that need to be answered in further breakout sessions,” he said.
While the consensus path toward replacing the law remains unclear, the GOP still lacks consensus on how much or how little to include in a repeal measure.
The Freedom Caucus on Monday voted to take an official position calling for the House to pass the same 2015 reconciliation measure for repeal that Obama vetoed in 2016. House GOP leaders have advocated what they call a “repeal plus” strategy that would include some pieces of a replacement plan in the repeal measure.
Conservatives say they wouldn’t vote against a “repeal plus” bill but they are advocating the 2015 repeal bill because they know it can pass in the Senate and meet that chamber’s stringent rules for reconciliation.
“Repeal is our first priority,” Meadows said. “I believe we can get to consensus on some replacement vehicle. And I would feel much more comfortable if we voted on a replacement the same week as we do on repeal.”
The House Republican Conference will hold a planning meeting Thursday morning to continue discussions on the repeal and replace strategy during which Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden and Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady are expected to detail plans to enact the replacement proposals in the Better Way plan.
While the Freedom Caucus’s endorsement of the Sanford-Paul plan shows that there isn’t agreement on all of the Better Way proposals, members remain optimistic that consensus can be found.
“We’ve had six years to think about it,” Meadows said. “I think we can get it done in the next six weeks.”Read More
(CNN) - The conservative House Freedom Caucus officially endorsed an Obamacare replacement bill introduced by Republican Rep. Mark Sanford and Sen. Rand Paul on Wednesday, a move that puts considerable pressure on GOP party leaders to act quickly to overhaul the Affordable Care Act.
CNN first reported Tuesday night on the details of the Paul-Sanford bill based on a summary of the legislation: It would lift restrictions on insurers and give Americans more tax breaks for buying and using health care. Politically, the bill is intended to send a clear signal that there is no excuse for delaying a vote to roll back the health care law, as top Republicans have yet to unveil a blueprint for an alternative.
"The speculation on what a replacement will look like has created an unnecessary climate of anxiety in this discussion," House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said at a press conference. "As members of Congress, we have a responsibility to reassure Americans -- particularly those with pre-existing conditions -- that they will be protected under a new system."
Sanford told CNN in an interview to preview the bill that it is simply not tenable for Republicans to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan.
"I tell my boys all the time: It's not good to enough to say what you're against. Tell me what you're for," Sanford said. "It's not enough for us as Republicans to say we are against Obamacare. I think everybody's got that. The real cause for anxiety is people who (are) concerned about what comes next."
Pointing to the pro-Obamacare protesters and constituents who have targeted Republican lawmakers' town halls in recent weeks, Sanford said the GOP has reached an "inflection point."
"Our simple message is we don't want to have 'Obamacare light.' That would be a mistake," the South Carolina congressman said. "We've all seen the crowds in different town hall meetings. We've all gotten the emails and phone calls, and there will be a real temptation to do that based on political forces and based on political fear."
Sanford and fellow members of the Freedom Caucus have grown increasingly vocal in requesting that GOP leaders move swiftly to repeal Obamacare.
On Monday night, the group voted to urge leadership to bring to the House floor an Obamacare repeal bill that Republicans approved in 2015. That legislation called for repealing the law's taxes immediately while giving Congress two years to come up with a replacement plan. At that time, the Obamacare mandates would end funding for subsidies, and Medicaid expansion would be eliminated. (Sanford said he would oppose any Obamacare repeal bill that is less aggressive than what Republicans sent to President Barack Obama's desk in 2015.)
The Freedom Caucus's moves this week are only deepening internal GOP tensions.
Multiple GOP leadership aides are griping that the group's requests this week are inconsistent with their own demands from earlier this year. These conservatives were among first to insist that repeal and replace happen simultaneously, the aides said, but are now endorsing a repeal bill from 2015 that would not replace Obamacare at the same time.
The leadership aides also noted that the current repeal package being crafted by top Republicans would include more replacement provisions than the 2015 repeal bill.
The Sanford-Paul legislation is designed to work in conjunction with the repeal reconciliation bill and contains many popular Republican health care provisions.
The measure would allow insurers to sell a wider array of policies, including those with more limited benefits and lower premiums. It would let Americans sock away $5,000 in health savings accounts (HSA) tax-free, up from $3,400 this year, while also enabling those who buy their own coverage to deduct the premiums from their incomes. It would protect those with pre-existing conditions as long as they had continuous coverage.
The bill would also allow people and small business owners to band together through professional associations to purchase insurance, with the goal of decreasing the cost through greater numbers. And it would permit insurers to sell policies across state lines.
The legislation also proposes restricting the use of taxpayer funds for abortion by banning people from using HSA funds for elective abortions.
One of the biggest obstacles for Sanford and Paul will be garnering bipartisan support for their bill in the Senate, where 60 votes will be required to approve Obamacare replacement measures.
"I'm going to focus on the House and Rand will focus on the Senate," Sanford said. "We'll take one step at a time."
Despite the mounting pressure from colleagues, House GOP leaders insisted Tuesday that they were taking a measured approach to overhauling Obamacare.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said at a news conference that leaders are taking a "step-by-step" strategy on repeal and replace.
"We want to get it right, and we've been taking our time to do that," said Republican Rep. Greg Walden, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. "You're going to see us come forward with a replacement bill after we repeal that makes sure that people have access to affordable care health for the first time."Read More
Sen. Paul, R-Ky., and Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., introduced a bill to replace Obamacare on Wednesday, increasing the pressure on GOP leaders who continue to discuss moving the law’s replacement at the same time as its repeal.
The legislation already has the full support of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of roughly 40 of the lower chamber’s conservative members. Conservatives in both the House and Senate have said they want to see repeal efforts move faster, and the lawmakers are hoping that the legislation is a turning point in the repeal-and-replace debate.
“We’re excited about the fact that it will finally be able to address many of the concerns that we’re hearing, whether it’s at townhalls or personal calls from our constituents about pre-existing conditions, about how to empower the consumer in terms of their health care choice, and ultimately drive down the price of health care,” House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said Wednesday.
Called the Obamacare Replacement Act, the legislation shares the hallmarks of other GOP replacement plans, and Paul said it was a “consensus bill” that pulled aspects of other proposals together.
However, the lawmakers acknowledged that there are still components that Republicans disagree on, like whether a replacement should include a refundable tax credit—Paul and Sanford’s does not—and whether to keep Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.
Paul and Sanford’s bill focuses heavily on the expansion of health savings accounts (HSAs), which are medical savings accounts. Their legislation allows consumers to contribute an unlimited amount annually to HSAs. Currently, consumers can contribute a maximum of $3,400 per year.
The Obamacare Replacement Act also creates a $5,000 tax credit for those who contribute to a HSA, and prohibits consumers from using the money in their accounts to pay for elective abortions.
Under Paul and Sanford’s bill, consumers who don’t receive insurance through their employers can deduct the cost of premiums from their taxable incomes, which serves to equalize the tax treatment for individuals and employers.
Additionally, the legislation allows individuals and small businesses to band together through membership in an Association Health Plan to buy health insurance. Paul and Sanford said these pooling mechanisms will decrease costs for consumers.
The bill also allows insurance companies to sell policies across state lines and eliminates Obamacare’s Essential Health Benefits mandate, which is a list of services insurance plans are required to cover without cost-sharing.
A major question that has emerged during the debate over Obamacare replacement plans is whether any new proposal will require insurers to provide coverage to consumers with pre-existing conditions, as the Affordable Care Act did.
Sanford and Paul’s plan would preserve that protection, so long as those with pre-existing conditions maintain continuous coverage.
Conservatives are beginning to grow antsy over the lack of progress on Obamacare’s repeal.
On Monday night, the House Freedom Caucus unanimously voted to support legislation undoing the health care law that passed the House and the Senate in 2015, a move that could force Republican leaders to use that bill as the floor for future repeal bills or risk losing the group’s support.
The 2015 bill repealed the individual and employer mandates, ended the subsidies and Medicaid expansion, and rolled back all of the law’s taxes.
Both Paul and Sanford have said that the 2015 bill should be the starting point for negotiations on which parts of Obamacare to unwind, and the conservatives are urging House leadership to advance repeal of the health care law at a faster rate than they currently are moving.
“This is a big, big day for conservative Republicans,” Paul told reporters Thursday. “We owe this to the conservatives around the country who elected us to repeal, to completely repeal Obamacare. But I think if you’re going to completely repeal something, you should replace it.”Read More
The party remains divided on many central questions: How long should repeal take? Should the Medicaid expansion be abolished? And should some of the taxes in ObamaCare be kept to help pay for a new coverage option?
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.)
Alexander is helping to lead the Senate’s ObamaCare efforts as chairman of the Senate Health Committee. Adopting a pragmatic tone, Alexander has touted the “repair” of ObamaCare rather than repeal and called for targeted actions to make the individual market more stable.
“We can repair the individual market, which is a good place to start,” Alexander said at a hearing he held earlier this month.
Alexander has expressed hope about working with Democrats on the issue, but the polarized politics of ObamaCare could make that all but impossible. Still, Alexander recently cited a letter from Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) offering to work on improvements to the law.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.)
Meadows is among those calling for a speedy repeal of ObamaCare; as chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, his voice carries weight.
Conservatives are growing impatient with the pace of repeal and replace efforts. Meadows, along with his predecessor as Freedom Caucus chairman, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), recently released a statement calling on Republican leaders to bring a repeal bill to a vote quickly.
They also warned the repeal legislation should not be watered down from what passed the House in 2015.
“There’s no reason we should put anything less on President Trump’s desk than we put on President Obama’s now that we know it will be signed into law,” Meadows and Jordan said.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price
Price is taking the helm of the administration’s healthcare efforts after a drawn-out confirmation battle.
One of the first actions his department appears ready to take is finishing a regulation on ObamaCare “market stabilization.” That regulation is likely to include several tweaks that would help insurance companies, including a crackdown on people gaming the system through extra signup periods.
The rule could help prevent insurers from bailing out of the ObamaCare market, buying time for the replacement effort.
Beyond that, Price could take actions to change central aspects of the law, like weakening enforcement of the mandate for people to get coverage. Trump has also indicated he could help shape a replacement plan, saying last month that his administration would release a plan after Price’s confirmation.
Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.)
Two big reasons to watch Heller: He is one of the few Democratic targets in the 2018 elections, and he comes from a state that accepted ObamaCare’s expansion of Medicaid, the insurance program for the poor.
Republican senators from states that accepted the Medicaid expansion are grappling with whether to try to salvage it under repeal. They met last week to start discussing their options.
During Price’s confirmation hearing, Heller expressed his worries about people losing coverage if the Medicaid expansion is repealed. Under the expansion, coverage is available to adults who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine)
The centrist senator is a player to watch on any number of issues, but perhaps none more so than ObamaCare.
She has opposed voting to repeal the healthcare law before a replacement plan is ready. Collins has also expressed reservations about defunding Planned Parenthood as part of the repeal bill, something Ryan has called for.
The senator has introduced a replacement plan with Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) that would allow states to keep ObamaCare if they decided against moving to a new system. That plan has drawn fire from conservatives, who say ObamaCare must be wiped from the books.
Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.)
Walden’s panel, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is at the forefront of the repeal effort. To meet the GOP’s aggressive timeline, the panel is looking to consider an ObamaCare bill on March 1.
Like Alexander, Walden has treaded carefully when asked how far the GOP will go in repealing ObamaCare. “There are some of these provisions in the law that probably will stay,” he said.
He has introduced a bill aimed at maintaining protections for people with pre-existing conditions, though the details have yet to be worked out.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
Conservative lawmakers and outside conservative groups have been rallying around Paul’s replacement plan, which he introduced last month.
The plan centers on a tax credit and expansion of health savings accounts to help people afford health insurance, while repealing the core aspects of ObamaCare.
Paul has also been pushing to repeal and replace ObamaCare at the same time. Last month, he tweeted that Trump called him to express support for the concept.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)
The Foreign Relations Committee chairman has emerged as something of a skeptic of Republicans’ course on repeal and replace.
He drew a headline in the liberal Huffington Post last week when he said of GOP ObamaCare replacement efforts: “To be honest, there’s not any real discussion taking place right now.”
Corker is also one of a handful of Republicans questioning whether it would be wise to repeal all of ObamaCare’s taxes right away, given that it would deprive them of revenue to spend on a replacement.
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.)
The first-term senator and physician is amassing influence on healthcare issues.
Cassidy put forward the relatively centrist ObamaCare replacement plan along with Collins and is among those calling for ObamaCare’s taxes to remain in place in order to provide revenue for a replacement plan. “The revenue is essential,” Cassidy said when rolling out his plan.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)
As chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over taxes, Hatch has enormous power to shape ObamaCare’s repeal.
The veteran senator, who is up for reelection in 2018, has rebuffed the Republicans who are calling for some ObamaCare taxes to be kept.
“All of the ObamaCare taxes need to go as part of the repeal process,” Hatch said this month. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) has expressed a similar view.Read More
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 14, 2017
Washington, D.C. – The House Freedom Caucus called for an expeditious vote in the House on the FY16 budget reconciliation language that passed both the House and the Senate, and was sent to President Obama's desk last year. The Freedom Caucus released the following statement:
“American families are hurting today under the crippling costs of the Affordable Care Act. We made a commitment to the American people to repeal this law--we must keep that promise. We remain open to and encourage a swift vote on a health care package that is market-based, consumer driven, and fair.
Reconciliation is the most critical step in undoing this failing law and the American people cannot afford to wait any longer for us to prove that we are working to relieve their burdens. There is no reason for Republicans to send anything less on repeal to President Trump's desk than we did President Obama's desk.”
Mission statement of the House Freedom Caucus:
“The House Freedom Caucus gives a voice to countless Americans who feel that Washington does not represent them. We support open, accountable and limited government, the Constitution and the rule of law, and policies that promote the liberty, safety, and prosperity of all Americans.”
WASHINGTON — The all-Republican House Freedom Caucus made its name by not being afraid to break with the leadership of the Republican Party. But these days, the gaggle of far-right lawmakers is hoping to work more as party power brokers, looking to shape legislation for the GOP that can get all the way to the president’s desk.
“There’s clout, you know, especially in a unified government where you’re not going to be looking at necessarily making a piece of legislation more moderate and picking up Democrats,” caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., told USA TODAY. “We’re well-aware of the numbers and I think it increases, I guess, our responsibility to be well-informed and making sure that we make good decisions.”
The Freedom Caucus consists of roughly 40 members — “roughly” because members can choose whether they want to make their membership public. And while Republicans have a majority in the House, it takes just a couple dozen lawmakers to rebel for the party to lose its majority on any given bill.
Caucus members have exerted their influence before. The group — unhappy with compromises that former House speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, made with the Obama administration — was behind Boehner’s resignation in the fall of 2015.
But now the group is working closely with the new leadership under Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. Ryan has put in place an open-door policy for all House Republicans and texts frequently with rank-and-file members. Meadows and other Freedom Caucus members attend weekly advisory board meetings with more moderate representatives from throughout the House GOP membership.
“We’re working well with them. And they also see that as a block we can help propel a decision and we can also help stop legislation, so I think they want to work with us,” Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, told USA TODAY.
“House Republicans are working as a team to now implement major provisions of our Better Way agenda rolled out last year, including Obamacare repeal and replace and tax reform,” Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said when asked about the speaker's relationship with the caucus.
Without the threat of former president Barack Obama’s veto, Republican lawmakers see a window to work together and get GOP-endorsed legislation signed into law under President Trump. And Freedom Caucus members want to put their imprint on what ends up in the bills.
Last week, members of the group hosted two Republican senators who had introduced replacement plans for Obamacare. Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy — who introduced a plan with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine — and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., pitched their plans to members of the group hoping for an endorsement.
“I think [the meeting was] very good. We all seem to be on the same wavelength that there needs to be a conservative, Republican replacement plan out there and that can be the consensus plan that Republicans can all join together on,” Paul told USA TODAY following the meeting.
“The more people that endorse a plan, the more leverage you have within your own caucus, so there are battles up here that are Republican-Democrat and then there are battles within each caucus as to which ideas become dominant,” Paul said in explaining why he made the trek to the House side of Capitol Hill to try to convince the far-right lawmakers to back his option.
Cassidy also met privately with members of the caucus, touting his proposal to the group and discussing everything from tax credits to the mechanics of the bill.
“We’re listening to everybody,” Labrador said. Health care “is a big deal, you know this is an important issue. And not all of us are experts on health care so we want to hear from as many people as possible."
“We also understand that as a block we have an ability to move legislation one way or another if we stick together as a block,” he added.
In order for the caucus to endorse anything, there must be 80% support. Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., said so far conversations on the Affordable Care Act repeal process “were spirited” and the group has not backed a bill.
But it isn’t just health care the group is trying to wield power on. They hosted a listening session with an economist on the border tax last week and met with Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, this week to talk tax reform.
The group does have a chance to make House legislation more conservative, but the Senate still requires 60 votes to pass most legislation. There are just 52 Republicans in the Senate, meaning some Senate Democrats will have to vote for a bill before it can get to Trump's desk.
“The Freedom Caucus does have the ability to pull the Republican caucus to the right in the House. But Majority Leader McConnell is forced in the Senate to pull the caucus toward the middle to be able to get enough Democrats to be able to get to 60 votes,” said Mark Harkins, a senior fellow at the Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University.
“So in some sense, the more successful the Freedom Caucus is, the less likely it is that legislation is going to move forward through the Senate,” he added.Read More
Congress must repeal Obamacare “within the next two or three months” to avoid the wrath of voters who expected Republicans to ease the anxiety around soaring rates and dwindling insurance options back home, conservative lawmakers said Wednesday.
Replacing the Affordable Care Act’s heavy mandates with free-market reforms that protect the poor and vulnerable is crucial, they said, but lawmakers should clear the decks for that effort by gutting the 2010 law.
“I think we should repeal it first, before deciding what comes next,” Sen. Mike Lee, Utah Republican, said at a roundtable hosted by the conservative Heritage Foundation.
“You don’t even get to what comes next if you don’t first get to repeal,” he said. “I think repeal becomes a lot more difficult if you load it down with all the heavy details involving what comes next, where we don’t have a whole lot of consensus.”
That stance is at odds with what GOP leaders have sketched out so far. They say they want to have a replacement ready to go when they attempt their repeal, because insurance markets need the certainty of what comes next.
President Trump recently told Fox News the effort might stretch into next year, though House leaders said he was referring to the implementation of their plans, which would be legislated this year.
They’re already behind their own self-imposed schedule, however, which called for key committees to have their plans ready by Jan. 27, so budget chairmen could craft fast-track repeal legislation that avoids a Democratic filibuster.
GOP committees have begun to write replacement bills that would stabilize or overhaul the current market and be approved, piece by piece, later in the year.
Rep. Mark Meadows, North Carolina Republican, said the best way to stabilize the insurance market is to “repeal Obamacare,” citing a lack of choices in his state.
“There is one carrier in my district now,” he said.
Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, said voters will be furious if the GOP lets its campaign promise of repeal slip any further.
“The biggest problem with waiting is that’s not what we told the voters,” Mr. Jordan said.
Congress already approved a repeal once, in 2015, only to see if vetoed by then-President Obama.
That bill scrapped taxpayer subsidies that help people buy private plans on web-based exchanges, plus the expansion of Medicaid in select states. It also repealed the mandate requiring people to get covered or pay a tax.
Repeal of the coverage provisions was delayed for two years, so the party had enough breathing room to implement their own reforms.
Conservatives said this year’s effort shouldn’t rely on a transition beyond two years, despite concerns that moving too fast would induce market chaos.
“The chaos American people are facing right now is related to a set of circumstances put in place by Obamacare,” Mr. Lee said. “That’s what has created the chaos. I wish there were a non-chaotic path, one that were easy.”
Indeed, Republicans are struggling to coalesce around a replacement plan that can be vetted by budget scorekeepers to see how it stacks up against Obamacare.
One sticking point is how to cover customers who are already sick, while scrapping the Obamacare mandate that required healthier people to enroll in coverage, too, to try and balance out insurers’ costs.
Generally, the GOP says insurers should have to accept people with preexisting medical conditions, so long as those customers have maintained coverage of some form. That way insurers won’t be saddled with consumers who, rather than paying premiums over time, wait until the get sick to sign up and submit costly claims.
“I have not heard any of my colleagues say we should leave those with preexisting conditions out in the cold,” Mr. Meadows said.
Republicans also say customers who are priced out of the market could be covered by “high-risk pools,” although the federal government or states would have to fund them. The House GOP’s “Better Way” plan called for $25 billion in federal funding over 10 years.
Republicans also say insurers should be allowed to provide cheaper plans with fewer benefits than the 2010 overhaul required. Another plan would relax Obamacare rules that prevented insurers from charging older consumers more than three times what they charge younger enrollees, who are needed to curb year-to-year premium hikes in the marketplace.Read More
1516 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
After working as a small business owner for 27 years, Representative Mark Meadows brings a business-style approach to Washington, D.C.
From owning and selling a successful restaurant to building a development company, Mark understands what the 63.7 million people in the United States who are self-employed or work for small businesses need to grow their businesses. He believes real job creation comes from the private sector, not the federal government. Mark recognizes that regulations are stifling job growth in this country and without a budget to set spending priorities, our federal government will continue to spend beyond its means.
While serving on the Committees on Oversight and Government Reform, Foreign Affairs, and Transportation and Infrastructure, Mark will hold the government accountable, protect American citizens and interests abroad, and ensure we have a modern transportation network which meets the needs of Western North Carolina and our country as a whole.
He is dedicated to providing top-notch constituent services to North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District and committed to upholding his Christian values and conservative principles while serving in Congress.
Mark lives in Jackson County with his wife Debbie. They have two college-age children, Blake and Haley.
Very sad news--Theron was a dear friend. Debbie and I send our prayers and condolences to his family. https://t.co/W5KhfJCbno
Retweeted by RepMarkMeadows
No more excuses, #Republicans--we need to keep our promises and keep them now. It's about time #Congress got up to speed and matched the work
Thanks to the great folks of Outrider USA in Fletcher, NC for having me for a visit yesterday! Outrider is a company that builds "ultralight
The Affordable Care Act is not sustainable. This law is collapsing, and the time to repeal it is right now. Congress should bring up the 2016
Thank you so much to everyone at Western Carolina Community Action for having me today! The teachers in this program are incredible and have
Thanks to Western Carolina Community Action for having me this morning to read to the students of their 'Head Start' program! These kids are