Vice-President Mike Pence Meets With Republican Groups on Healthcare
The battle over Obamacare is far from over.
On Monday, the Trump administration met with two key Republican groups, the Freedom Caucus and the Tuesday Group, to discuss healthcare reform. Last month, clashes between the two led to the failure of the House to pass a new healthcare bill. A failure so large that the bill did not even make it to the House floor for a vote. It was a terrible defeat for the new President and for Speaker Paul Ryan. The President was so irate that he not threatened to leave Obamacare as the law of the land and took to Twitter to call out those he felt defied him.
Monday’s meetings are the first sign that the President was either not serious or simply speaking from a place of frustration. What is interesting is the comments by Mark Meadows, House Chairman of the Freedom Caucus. Speaking after his meeting with Vice President Pence, Meadows offered a summary of the meeting. Meadows was intrigued by an idea the White House floated to give states more flexibility to opt out of Obamacare regulations using a waiver process. Meadows spoke of two key points that are sure to please his caucus.
The first is states could opt not to require insurers to cover things like essential health benefits that are required now. Meaning insurers would not have to cover services like hospitalization or maternity care. While many moderates want the provision kept, conservatives have maintained its a deal breaker. The second is insurers could opt out of community health ratings. This currently ban insurers from charging higher premiums based on gender or health history. Meadows continued to stress that while he is impressed with the progress made there is no final deal on the table.
The Moderate Problem
In contrast there is no word as of now what the Tuesday Morning group discussed. Moderates face a large problem if the White House concedes the above points. Many of their constituents are actually in favor of those ACA rules and want them kept. With the 2018 election approaching, healthcare reform is sure to be a make or break voting point. As of now, Republicans control both the House and Senate. Alienating voters for either group could spell disaster for not only the Republican Party as a whole but President Trump. Should Democrats narrow the gap by unseating Republicans up for re-election, Trump can kiss his administrative agenda goodbye.
While all sides agree that a new bill is months away, the battle over the details is just getting started.