Latest healthcare bill amendment expands high-risk pool funding: 6 things to know

A new amendment to the GOP's American Health Care Act gives the legislation a greater chance of passage in the House, reports CNN.

Here are six things to know about the new amendment.

1. The new amendment, offered by Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., comes about a week after Republicans proposed an amendment offered by a Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J. The latest change would add an additional $8 billion over five years for high-risk pools established by the MacArthur amendment, CNN reports.

2. Under the MacArthur amendment, states would be able to seek waivers to repeal the ACA's community rating rule, which bars insurers from charging different premiums "based on age, gender, health status or other factors." The MacArthur amendment would also give states the ability to opt out of a requirement that was part of the original GOP healthcare bill. This requirement allows insurers to charge a 30 percent penalty for those who let their health plans lapse and try to buy a new policy, according to Politico, which cites a brief update sent to House Energy and Commerce Committee members.

3. The MacArthur amendment includes a caveat. States with waivers would have to set up programs such as government-subsidized high-risk pools to make health plans more affordable for consumers with pre-existing conditions, according to Politico.

4. CNN reports the MacArthur amendment already included $130 billion for high-risk pools and other programs for individuals with pre-existing conditions in states that try to get waivers under the AHCA. The Upton amendment expands that funding.

5. As of Wednesday morning, the official text for the Upton amendment had not been published, and the amendment was not yet finalized, a source with the House Energy and Commerce committee noted to CNN.

6. Reps. Upton and Billy Long, R-Mo., who previously opposed the GOP healthcare bill, indicated Wednesday they now would vote in favor of it, according to CNN. Assuming no Democrats support the bill, Republicans can only forego 22 "no" votes for the measure to pass. Predictions from earlier in the week showed anywhere from 19 to 21 potential Republican votes against the legislation. CNN described the two new "yes" votes as "an incremental but symbolically important victory for the White House and Republican leaders."


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