Heritage Action's CEO Mike Needham said the proposed MacArthur-Meadows Amendment to the AHCA "advances the debate and raises key issues for the Senate to consider as the effort to repeal Obamacare moves forward."
This amendment, which is the product of weeks-long negotiations by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), is an important step forward in rolling back the Title I regulations of Obamacare because it would allow states to say "NO" to some of the most harmful parts of Obamacare. As Mike made clear, "this is not full repeal and it is not what Republicans campaigned on" but it does "represent important progress". That means there is more work to do.
How did we get here?
Last month Congress introduced the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The original bill failed to truly repeal Obamacare. Fortunately, House Republican leaders pulled the bill from the floor.
Since that point, conservatives have been leading. Members of the House Freedom Caucus have worked directly with the Trump Administration and a handful of more moderate Republicans to make important policy changes that allow the debate to move forward.
So what does the new amendment include?
The amendment allows states to opt out of two of the most harmful parts of Obamacare, the essential health benefits mandate and parts of community rating scheme.
Essential health benefits
This mandate forces insurance companies to cover comprehensive benefits for all recipients regardless of needs or wants. It essentially dictates one size fits all health insurance policies. Requiring essential health care benefits restricts health care providers from customizing plans and offering consumers a choice in the marketplace. Allowing states to set their own essential health benefits would lead to increased choice and lower costs.
This mandate prevents insurance companies from setting prices based on various risk and cost factors. Requiring community rating forces many consumers to pay more for insurance than should be necessary. Allowing states to set their own standards will lead to increased choice and lower costs.
Is this the final bill?
No. Even if the MacArthur-Meadows Amendment is added to the AHCA, the bill must be voted on by the House. From there it will head to the Senate where is it guaranteed to change. That will provide Senate conservatives an opportunity to make further changes and continue repealing key parts of Obamacare.
Heritage Action will continue pushing for real repeal of Obamacare and move toward a patient-centered healthcare system.