Vice President Mike Pence presented an offer to the conservative House Freedom Caucus on Monday night in hopes of reviving the repeal and replace healthcare bill that was pulled from the floor due to lack of votes. Other White House officials joined Pence, and they offered an idea of compromise that included letting states choose to apply for waivers to repeal two regulations within Obamacare that some conservatives argue are what is driving up premiums.
The regulations in the center of the discussion have to do with mandates over which health services insurers must cover and the “community rating” system, which prevents insurers from charging sick people higher premiums. Conservatives had previously insisted that the bill repeal those regulations altogether. However, the deal now being discussed would give the states a choice as to whether they can apply for a waiver from the government.
The Freedom Caucus was cautiously open to the idea but said they would need to read the full legislative text which they hoped would be available within the next 24 hours. Several lawmakers have disclosed that they expect to have a vote as soon as this week, although Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the Freedom Caucus chairman, did not want to set up “artificial” deadlines. “There is no deal in principle; there is a solid idea that was offered,” Meadows told reporters. “We’re certainly encouraged by the progress we seem to be making,” he added. Meadows did say that the repeal of the two regulations in questions would provide enough “yes” votes to pass the bill. But there are lingering questions about how some moderates and centrists would respond. White House officials also met with a group of centrists earlier in the day.
Leadership within the Freedom Caucus have emphasized that the ban on denying coverage to people with a pre-existing condition would not be repealed, but Democratic health experts have also stressed that allowing insurers to charge patients higher rates might effectively put their coverage out of reach. Meadows has countered that by reminding Democratic leadership that a “stability fund” within the measure could subsidize higher premiums and bring the cost down for sick people.
What do you think about the new idea that seems to be bringing Republicans together on healthcare? Do you believe that we will have a vote shortly? Do you think the new bill will work and most Americans will be pleased? What do you think about the role that Mike Pence is playing?