Following Republicans’ decision to table the first House vote for the American Health Care Act in late March, they have since endeavored to revive the proposed replacement for former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Throughout April, Speaker Paul Ryan and the House GOP, Donald Trump and others did this with varying degrees of success and failure — including proposing new measures to price those who become sick out of affordable coverage. Thanks to Rep. Tom MacArthur’s (R-New Jersey) a new amendment, however, it seems more Republicans are willing to give Trumpcare a shot.
First reported by Politico, news of MacArthur’s amendment caught Vox’s attention due to its actions regarding the heavily maligned pre-existing condition. Before Obamacare’s passage, health insurers could legally charge customers more if they were already sick before coverage went into effect, or became sick because of certain medical conditions predating coverage. Thanks to MacArthur, Vice President Mike Pence and Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-North Carolina), however, states can opt out of Obamacare’s requirements — including pre-existing condition protections — if they can obtain certain waivers.
As Vox points out, an added provision would exclude members of Congress and their staff from the possible ill effects of these waivers. In other words, the Republican congressmen who’ve been railing against Obamacare for years would get to keep its protections for themselves and their aides, while average Americans would not. As Vox editor Sarah Kliff notes while citing health law expert Timothy Jost, Obamacare’s individual mandate — which requires all Americans to purchase health insurance — applies equally to Congress. So if one of their staffers lives in a state that decides to waive protections, the new provision will protect them.