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Reversal: Some Republicans now defending parts of ObamaCare

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And who hasn’t been watching the “repeal debacle” and seen this coming?

All of them ran on the campaign promise of, “If you vote for me, I will fight to repeal Obamacare.”  And as they did, many of these politico’s states were gladly establishing either federal or state-level health care exchanges to comply with Obamacare, or expanding their Medicaid rules and roles to jump on the money bandwagon.  So now they are asking themselves what their options are come the next election cycle.

We all know that the “vote” is what it is all about.  It’s not about they were elected to do based on what they promised their constituents.  Nope, it is all about staying in office and retaining power.

Solution?  TERM LIMITS!

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The House’s debate over repealing ObamaCare has had an unintended effect: Republicans are now defending key elements of President Obama’s health law. 

Many House Republicans are now defending ObamaCare’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions, in the face of an effort by the conservative House Freedom Caucus to repeal them. 

Some Republican lawmakers are also speaking out in favor of ObamaCare’s expansion of Medicaid and its mandates that insurance plans cover services like mental health and prescription drugs. 

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), the GOP’s chief deputy whip, said Wednesday that Freedom Caucus calls for states to be able to apply for waivers to repeal pre-existing condition protections are “a bridge too far for our members.”

Those ObamaCare protections include what is known as community rating, which prevents insurers from charging higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions, and guaranteed issue, which prevents insurers from outright denying coverage to them.

McHenry spoke in personal terms about the importance of keeping in place those Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions, contained in Title I of the law.

“If you look at the key provisions of Title I, it affects a cross section of our conference based off of their experience and the stories they know from their constituents and their understanding of policy,” McHenry said. 

“My family history is really bad and so my understanding of the impact of insurance regs are real and I believe I’m a conservative, so I look at this, understand the impact of regulation, but also the impact of really bad practices in the insurance marketplace prior to the ACA passing,” he continued. “There are a lot of provisions that I’ve campaigned on for four election cycles that are part of the law now that I want to preserve.”

McHenry’s defense of those ObamaCare pre-existing condition protections is striking because just last year, House Republicans touted a healthcare plan, called A Better Way, that would have repealed the protections and replaced them with a different system. 

Rather than ObamaCare’s protections, the Better Way plan would have protected people with pre-existing conditions only if they maintained “continuous coverage,” meaning they had no gaps in coverage. Unlike under ObamaCare, the plan would not extend the protections to people who were uninsured and trying to enroll in coverage. For those people, Republicans proposed subsidizing coverage through separate high-risk pools. 

During a town hall at Georgetown University last year, Speaker (R-Wis.) called for repealing ObamaCare’s community rating protection and allowing insurers to return to the days of “underwriting,” when they could charge people with pre-existing conditions more. Instead, sick people could get coverage subsidized through high-risk pools, he said. 

“Open up underwriting, have more insurance companies, have more competition, and just pay for the person with the pre-existing condition to make sure that they can get affordable coverage when that moment happens and make it much more competitive for everybody else,” Ryan said then. “I think it’s a smarter way to do it economically and it gives people more freedom, more choices.”

Now, though, many House Republicans are defending the ObamaCare protections. 

For example, in addition to McHenry’s comments, Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) this week called community rating a “very significant reform” made by ObamaCare. 

Conservative groups are frustrated to see Republicans offering the defense. They say these Republicans are going back on their word to repeal ObamaCare.   

Heritage Action this week sent out a fact sheet, citing the Better Way plan, titled “House Republicans Campaigned on Repealing Obamacare’s Community Rating Provision.”

The group’s CEO, Michael Needham, held a press call to blame moderate House Republicans in the Tuesday Group for blocking a deal. 

“I think the Tuesday Group clearly wants to keep ObamaCare in place,” Needham said. 

It’s not just the pre-existing condition protections that GOP lawmakers are defending. 

Many Republicans from states that accepted ObamaCare’s expansion of Medicaid are defending it. 

A group of Republican senators, including Sen. (R-Colo.), the chairman of Senate Republicans’ campaign arm, last month objected to a draft of the House GOP repeal bill because it did not “provide stability and certainty for individuals and families in Medicaid expansion programs or the necessary flexibility for states.”

The House bill would effectively end the Medicaid expansion starting in 2020. Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) warned that change “affects so many of our disabled individuals and families, and the working poor.”

Republicans had long derided ObamaCare’s “essential health benefits,” which mandate 10 health services that insurance plans must cover. They have said, for example, that men should not be forced to pay for plans that cover maternity care. 

“In addition to the loss of Medicaid coverage for so many people in my Medicaid-dependent state, the denial of essential health benefits in the individual market raise serious coverage and cost issues,” Frelinghuysen wrote in a statement last month announcing he would oppose the House GOP repeal bill. 

House Republicans even touted an amendment on Thursday that they said would bring down premiums by the government helping to pay for the costs of high-cost enrollees. That program is very similar to one that already existed in ObamaCare, called “reinsurance.”

McHenry, asked if his defense of the pre-existing condition protections was an acknowledgement that ObamaCare had done some good, said: “It is an awful bill on the main, but there are a few little kernels here that have had a good impact for eliminating the worst practices within the insurance marketplace.”

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the conservative Freedom Caucus, this week pushed back on the argument that his claims are a “bridge too far” for most of the conference, saying “anything less” than full repeal is not a bridge too far. 

But he acknowledged that many of his colleagues don’t support full repeal of ObamaCare, long a central tenet of the party. 

“Full repeal of ObamaCare may be a bridge too far,” he said, later adding: “We wouldn’t be having the problem we’re having if that weren’t the case.”

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4 Comments

  1. UNIWERSITY OF BARSOOM AT HELIUM GRAD April 9, 2017 at 7:43 am -  Reply

    ‘STATES’ … the only US Constitution authorized provider of ANY “specific citizen welfare”…

    … have had “pre-existing conditions” elimination riders for decades…

    … Massachewsitts is the only known ‘state’ exercising their right to do so!

    This Canard needs to be trashcanned…

    57 million Seniors on Medicare have ZERO ‘pre-existing conditions limitation’…

    150 million on Employer Sponsored Group plans have ZERO ‘pre-existing conditions limitations’…

    45 million Disabled adults and 90% of America’s kids on Medicaid specifically get coverage because of ‘pre-existing conditions’… disease or youth!!

    75 million Individual Health Plan insureds have Guaranteed Renewable / Non-cancellable coverage… with full right of Conversion … ONLY an absolute IDIOT would allow to go uninsured IF they develop chronic “conditions”…
    … that would prevent them from simply taking a job offering Employer Sponsored Group!!

    CANARD… or KANARD … your choice!!

  2. Angus Rangus April 9, 2017 at 7:50 am -  Reply

    Kaleefornya is not reporting status on their bill filed for Single Payor HealthCare…

    … which GOV Moonbeam loves so-o-o-o much…

    … BECAUSE no “state” with existing Online ONE STOP Portal for Medicaid / SNAP-EBT / TANF / HUD / ETC had enuff taxpayers to allow such a monstrous plan!!

    THEY only take the Federal Welfare FREE STUFF… because it is financed DEFICITLY on the backs of future generations!!

    $20 TRILLION National Debt…

    … PLUS… $120 TRILLION Unfunded Liability for Social Security & Medicare funds stolen to finance our Great Society the past 50 years … That will BECOME NATIONAL DEBT over the next 50 years!!

    1. STOP going below ZERO on Fed Income Tax!!

    2. Collect every single dollar of Payroll Taxes and deposit it into those 4 Trusts as planned!!

    3. PRIVATIZE Social Security and Medicare to stop being the laughing stock of the planet!

    YEP… FLAT Tax is the only solution to fund existing vested benefits !!

  3. Angus Rangus April 9, 2017 at 7:55 am -  Reply

    This isn’t GNU!!

    Herbert Hoover was perhaps our first RINO wanting Federal GOVT to solve all the problems of the world. His Quaker background perhaps gave him the similar communal view of Richard M. Nixon.

    MOST of FDR’s abjectly failed FREE STUFF were Hoover programs renamed and touted as the “solution”…
    … WW2 ended the longest Depression in our nation’s history…
    … BUT set us up for a far worse disaster just 50 years and $140 TRILLION into the Great Society War on Poverty – with no single battle yet won!!

    {Hoover also saw Germany’s Jewish nightmare … he appointed our first Jewish SCOTUS justice – who turned out to be somewhat of an embarrassment for the GOP also??}

  4. Old Jim April 9, 2017 at 8:11 am -  Reply

    GOP… Grande Olde Party!!

    YEP… we got very liberal GOP… kinda’ like our Cubans from Miami…
    … one such Senator last year stopped most 2nd Amendment fixes…
    … now a different one such Senator has to be compelled to allow a vote from her committee!!

    We call them our 35% Crew… as ranked on that intelligent Heritage Conservative Scorecard! They know as Super Majority not to screw the pooch on really big deals… BUT rarely add value on any thang of REAL REFORM!!

    Sadly RINO’s don’t believe in the 10th Amendment…
    … just power and $$ that comes from being re-elected to that DC Money Laundry…
    … thrilling with the silly, frilly fringe of most TRUE REFORM like totally PRIVATIZING all of America’s HealthCare and Insurance by simply turning the clock backwards just 50 years on violating wantonly our US Constitution on ENUMERATED POWERS!!

    Term Limits… or perhaps eliminating the Trial Lawyers proportion down to the 3% in general population… with honest adults of integrity willing to read at our average high school level??

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