Republican leaders are desperate for President Trump to use his vaunted dealmaking skills to sell skeptical conservatives on their flagging American Health Care Act. They need his backing, and more importantly, they need the political cover he provides.
On Friday, the president delivered his first batch of votes.
After meeting with members of the conservative Republican Study Committee, Trump and House GOP leaders agreed to push the Medicaid provisions in their replacement for the Affordable Care Act further to the right. That was enough to win the support of the group, which represents the largest bloc of conservatives in the House. “We stand united today to move this forward for the American people,” proclaimed Representative Mark Walker of North Carolina, chairman of the RSC and an initial critic of the GOP health-care proposal.
According to a Republican aide briefed on the changes, states will now have the option of accepting a block grant from the federal government instead of receiving funding based on enrollment in the program under the leadership’s original proposal. They’ll also be allowed to institute work requirements for recipients, and states that did not expand Medicaid under Obamacare will be blocked from doing so during the transition. Under another revision, conservatives won the inclusion of language barring recipients from using the bill’s tax credits to pay for abortions. The changes are likely to be included in a manager’s amendment that would be unveiled next week before the final vote.