New Deal Aims To Bridge Republican Health Care Divide

The new compromise gives more leeway to states, but certain parts of it might not sit well with moderate Republicans.
Posted at 8:00 PM, Apr 20, 2017

"We're doing very well on health care … the plan gets better and better and better and it's gotten really, really good and a lot of people are liking it a lot," President Donald Trump said.

It's not just Trump — congressional Republicans are eyeing a new push for health care reform in the near future.

Differences between moderate and far-right Republicans tanked the last health care bill. This time, though, Rep. Tom MacArthur and Rep. Mark Meadows think they may have a compromise all Republicans can agree on.

The compromise will keep parts of Obamacare moderate Republicans like, such as protections for people with pre-existing conditions. But it also gives states the right to waive some of those same aspects on their own. 

For instance, states could choose to put people with pre-existing conditions in "high-risk pools." Some states had high-risk pools before Obamacare, but a Kaiser Family Foundation study found them to be underfunded. They also can be more expensive for patients in those pools, as well as for taxpayers funding them.

The liberal think tank Center for American Progress warns the proposed changes could "explode" health care premiums for people with pre-existing conditions. 

But Rodney Whitlock — vice president of health policies at ML strategies and former Republican staffer — told NPR there will be language allowing people hurt by a state's health care policies to sue the state.

There might still be some sticking points with more moderate Republicans. There's no mention of Medicaid in the new deal, and cut backs on Medicaid funding in the last health care bill was a major issue for many moderates.

There's still no legislative text to look over, so it's hard to figure out if congressional Republicans will support this new agreement.