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 ACA ‘Repeal and Replace’ Gains Favor with Conservative Bloc in House

Efforts to revive Affordable Care Act (ACA) “repeal and replace” legislation in the House received a major boost on April 26 when the House Freedom Caucus, a conservative bloc of Republicans, said they would support the legislation after changes are made to the American Health Care Act as outlined in the so-called McArthur Amendment.

That amendment, named for its author Rep. Tom McArthur (R-N.J.), would allow states to go their own way on important health insurance rules mandated in the ACA, like how to set parameters for essential health benefits for consumer coverage in their states.

Over the past couple of months, House conservatives have worked tirelessly to improve the American Health Care Act to make it better for the American people. Due to improvements to the AHCA and the addition of Rep. Tom MacArthur’s proposed amendment, the House Freedom Caucus has taken an official position in support of the current proposal,” the group said in its April 26 statement.

The caucus had been against the version of the repeal and replace bill, or Ryan bill (named after House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), which was pulled from the House floor on March 24 due to a lack of support. Conservatives had wanted changes to the legislation then to make premiums lower, like relaxing benefit requirements and permitting forms of underwriting to account for pre-existing medical conditions.

Even with the seeming support of House conservatives, it is not clear what the Ryan bill’s fate will be in the House, given the need for moderate Republicans to come along as well to get to the 216 votes needed for approval. Any vote counting considers that no Democrat in the House is on the record as supporting any version of ACA repeal and replace.

Though a text of the newest version of the Ryan bill has not been finalized, legislative sources tell Provider it appears language remains in the legislation to overhaul Medicaid by installing per-capita caps on federal funding to the states and to use block grants for funding non-elder care and other portions of the program’s coverage footprint.

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