Rep. Mark Meadows, the leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, reportedly got emotional after reading about the potential effects of the House GOP’s healthcare bill on sick Americans.
According to Haley Byrd at the Independent Journal Review and Robert King at the Washington Examiner, reporters showed Meadows a section of the Congressional Budget Office’s report on the American Health Care Act, which passed the House with only Republican votes on May 2.
The section Meadows viewed pertained to preexisting conditions. The report said people with preexisting conditions in states that could accept a new waiver from an AHCA provision could see their premiums skyrocket and possibly even be priced out of the insurance market.
IJR’s Byrd reported that Meadows was “surprised” when he was shown section that outlined the potential negative effects. After reading it, he became “emotional and choked back tears.”
“Listen, I lost my sister to breast cancer,” Meadows said, according to Byrd. “I lost my dad to lung cancer. If anybody is sensitive to preexisting conditions, it’s me. I’m not going to make a political decision today that affects somebody’s sister or father because I wouldn’t do it to myself.”
The Examiner similarly reported that Meadows became “emotional” upon reading the report.
Meadows told reporters that he would support changes to the bill in the Senate to properly fund high-risk pools to protect those with preexisting conditions. He said that if the bill did not have “enough funding there to handle preexisting conditions and drive down premiums … then we will have failed.”
The waivers were added in an amendment from Rep. Tom MacArthur weeks after the AHCA was pulled from a House floor vote in March — in part because of a lack of support from Meadow’s Freedom Caucus.
The amendment, which the CBO cited as the primary reason for undermining preexisting-condition protections, helped win over Meadows nearly 20 members of the Freedom Caucus to support the bill’s eventual passage.
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