Republican Western North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows says the Affordable Care Act repeal bill presented by Senate GOP leaders currently lacks support in both chambers of Congress. Meadows' remarks came during a conference call with reporters.
During the call, Meadows said "in its current form, the way that it is, we don't have enough support among conservatives or moderates to really get it to the President's desk."
Among its many provisions, the health bill rolls back Medicaid expansion, eliminates taxes from the Affordable Care Act, and does away with the individual mandate for health insurance. Its broad outlines are similar to the House version of the bill which was criticized when the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found it would cause more than 20 million people to lose their coverage. Meadows says the main question remains whether the bill drives down premiums enough and whether it can solidify the insurance markets to make sure there's enough competition.
Also, Meadows responded to a BPR question that he was not concerned by President Trump's remark to Senators that the House version was "mean." Meadows says he's spoken with Trump about it.
"He's wanting to make sure that we not only handle pre-existing conditions, but that we fund it in such a way that doesn't give people anxiety, and so in doing that, I support him fully in that."
The President celebrated passage of the House bill after picking up the support of moderate Republicans and the conservative Freedom Caucus, which Meadows chairs.
Meadows responded to another BPR question about the secret manner in which the Senate drew up the bill.
"You know, that's a Senate deal. Obviously I'm for open process and transparency and believe that we need to do that. I think the more open and transparent the deliberation is, the better the product. But I'm not a Senator and I'm not there, going to critique Senator McConnell. I'll leave that up for Richard Burr or Thom Tillis to do that."
Senator Mitch McConnell is hoping for a vote on the Senate bill by the end of next week.