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Meadows Says Two Key Freedom Caucus Provisions Now In GOP Healthcare Bill

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Matt Bush WCQS
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Congressman Mark Meadows Addresses CIBO Luncheon At UNC-Asheville Last Friday

Congressman Mark Meadows says “steps in a positive direction” are being made in regards to resurrecting Republican hopes of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, known to many as "Obamacare".  The Western North Carolina Republican chairs the ‘Freedom Caucus’, which consists of the most conservative members of the GOP-controlled Congress.  Their opposition to the initial health care bill led Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump to pull it before it was voted on.  The Trump administration has met with the Freedom Caucus this week, and Meadows says they’ve agreed on changes to the original bill.  They include the elimination of two provisions of "Obamacare".  One establishes what must be covered in the most basic health care plans insurers offer.  Meadows and the Freedom Caucus want those plans to cover less, believing that will drive premiums down.  “It’s like saying you have to buy homeowners insurance, but you also have to buy boat insurance, you also have to buy gun insurance, and you have to buy motorcycle insurance", Meadows says.  "Even though you may not have a motorcycle, a gun, or a boat.”

The other provision deals with ‘community ratings’, which makes companies charge people of the same age, gender and other demographics the same price.  The Freedom Caucus believes dropping that will also drive down premiums, but critics argue it would essentially undermine what is considered the most popular part of "Obamacare" – that insurers cannot charge more based on pre-existing conditions.  Meadows disputes this, and says his colleagues are looking to add to the bill the ability for states to create their own ‘high-risk pools’, which would subsidize coverage plans for those who could not afford it because of a long-term illness or catastrophic accident. 

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Matt Bush joined Blue Ridge Public Radio as news director in August 2016. Excited at the opportunity the build up the news service for both stations as well as help launch BPR News, Matt made the jump to Western North Carolina from Washington D.C. For the 8 years prior to coming to Asheville, he worked at the NPR member station in the nation's capital as a reporter and anchor. Matt primarily covered the state of Maryland, including 6 years of covering the statehouse in Annapolis. Prior to that, he worked at WMAL in Washington and Metro Networks in Pittsburgh, the city he was born and raised in.