House Conservatives Appear Ready to Support Revised GOP Health Plan

Vote on PPACA overhaul possible this week

House conservatives seem to be coalescing behind a health plan that includes waivers that allow states to opt out of major regulations related to “essential health benefits” mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), and that permit insurance companies to charge higher premiums for patients with pre-existing conditions, according to an article in the Washington Post.

Representatives Mark Meadows (R-North Carolina), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and Raúl R. Labrador (R-Idaho)—all leaders of the far-right Freedom Caucus and central figures in the latest discussions—have signaled that they are ready to support the new plan, unnamed White House officials confided to the Post.

Representative Trent Franks (R-Arizona), another Freedom Caucus member, remarked: “I would not be the most shocked person in the building if we voted it this week out of the House.”

Top GOP aides told the Post that the text of the new bill probably won’t be posted until House Republicans feel confident that they have enough votes to pass it.

The agreement at the crux of the revised bill would allow states to opt out of some insurance regulations in the PPACA. Through a federal waiver, insurers would be freed from a requirement to cover certain “essential health benefits,” as defined by the federal government. And while they would still be required to cover patients with pre-existing conditions, they could charge them higher premiums.

Many conservatives don’t like leaving the PPACA’s insurance regulations in place, but the waiver provision allows them to argue that they’re giving states more control over the situation, the Post article notes.

Source: Washington Post; April 25, 2017.