Mark Meadows: Senate Obamacare deal is a ‘good start’ – Washington Examiner
Rep. Mark Meadows called a nascent bipartisan deal to fund Obamacare payments a “good start” but shied away from full support.
The North Carolina Republican told the Washington Examiner that the contours of a deal announced Tuesday has promise, but more changes will be needed to lure support from conservatives. Meadows’ statement comes after Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., leader of the 170-member Republican Study Committee, called the deal a “bailout.”
Meadows is head of the conservative House Freedom Caucus but was not speaking for the group, which has not taken a position on the deal that has yet to be released.
The deal would fund Obamacare’s cost-sharing reduction, or CSR, payments for two years in exchange for greater flexibility for states on Obamacare’s insurer regulations.
Meadows was pleased the deal would allow for greater use of cheaper catastrophic plans and “greater flexibility to bypass Obamacare regulations.”
But he cautioned that more needs to be done.
“It is a good start but must be augmented with real flexibility and additional consumer choices in order to gain conservative support,” he said in a statement.
The purpose of the discussions, Walker said, should be to lower premiums, though he stressed he wanted Congress eventually to return to repeal efforts.
“Most importantly, it bears repeating: Republicans cannot allow short term solutions to become a distraction to repealing and replacing Obamacare-something we’ve promised to do for seven years,” he said.
His statement comes after Walker tweeted that the deal was nothing but a “bailout” of the controversial Obamacare and that Congress needs to get back to work trying to repeal and replace the law.
The dueling comments underscore the difficulties of getting any deal through the House. Many conservatives deride the cost-sharing payments, which reimburse insurers for lowering out-of-pocket costs for poor Obamacare enrollees, as bailouts for a collapsing system.
But the moves for catastrophic plans and greater flexibility for states was seen as a compromise to help get Republican support.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said he is gathering Republican co-sponsors for the deal he crafted with Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. He said that President Trump called on him to reach a deal with Murray.
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