Failure of House Obamacare Repeal Bill an Opportunity for Some

The decision to pull an ACA-repeal bill from the House floor last week could be an opportunity for some lawmakers pushing their own health legislation in coming weeks.

Many of the members of the House Freedom Caucus, a coalition of hard-line conservatives who delayed passage of the bill seeking further changes to the Affordable Care Act, said they expect the defeat of the repeal bill to result in a “true repeal” of the health law.

Members of the Freedom Caucus pressed the White House and House leadership to repeal aspects of Title 1 of the ACA, which includes the individual mandate, rules for the kind of coverage insurers must include in plans and community rating regulations. Some moderate Republicans opposed such a change, fearing it would cause their constituents to lose their health insurance.

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) told reporters that repeal efforts will “have to start over looking for a real repeal.”

Republicans need to “get back to the drawing board and bring forward a bolder effort to replace the failing Obamacare with a plan to reduce costs by increasing choice and competition,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said Friday.

However, Republican moderates have made clear they won't support such dramatic changes to the health insurance industry. Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), head of the moderate Tuesday Group, told reporters market reforms must be “doable and sustainable.”

“There are parts [of the ACA] that need to be repealed, parts that need to be replaced. This needs to be reformed, repaired and overhauled, and some parts will be retained—we all know that,” he said.

In the Senate, Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) are expected to push Senate leadership to act on their signature health bills.

Cassidy, along with three other senators, introduced a bill in January that keeps the ACA’s taxes and allow states to decide if they want to keep the health law’s expanded federal Medicaid funding. The legislation would lift the ACA’s individual mandate but would automatically enroll Americans in an insurance plan they can opt out of, if they choose.

Cassidy said he’s confident he could get 51 senators to vote for his bill.

Paul is calling for a complete repeal of the ACA’s taxes and an end to the health law’s insurance regulations. He has been a vocal opponent of the House bill.

Paul told reporters March 22 that the House bill’s failure would be a boon for his plan and the effort to cut back on the federal spending associated with the ACA.

Read my full story on the failed House bill here.

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