Representative Dave Brat (R-Va), a Freedom Caucus member who voted against the first TrumpCare bill, appeared on CNN earlier this morning to suggest that he may be ready to support a new version of the bill that allows individual states to opt out of certain components of Obamacare that require minimum coverage levels and restrict insurers from charging more to patients with pre-existing conditions. Per The Hill:
"It's not really a new bill — it's the same fundamental bill, but a few pretty significant amendments to it," he said during an appearance on CNN's "New Day."
He said the new plan, the text of which has not been written yet, would lower the cost of health insurance and return responsibility to individual states.
Changes to the new bill would let states apply for waivers for certain ObamaCare regulations, such as a provision preventing insurers from raising an individual's premium based on that person's health.
"It just allows states to opt out of some of the [regulations] to bring down price. And so those are two of the big pieces. A couple little pieces on the regulatory framework, and then I think we can all get to yes," said Brat, who came to Congress after defeating former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a primary.
Meanwhile, Trump, who is increasingly anxious to post some wins in his first 100 days, implied on Thursday that he was optimistic that Congress would be able to hold a vote on healthcare next week, as well as prevent a government shutdown. "We're doing very well on healthcare,” he said at a news conference. "We will see what happens, but this is a great bill. There's a great plan, and this will be great healthcare. It is evolving."
No matter how much I accomplish during the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days, & it has been a lot (including S.C.), media will kill!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2017
All that said, Democrats will undoubtedly argue that the recommended changes could make it more difficult for some people to get healthcare, and GOP aides have said the changes may make it difficult for centrists in the GOP conference, who also opposed the first bill, to back this one.
Of course, one should never underestimate the Republican party's uncanny ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. As John Boehnor recently pointed out, Republicans always seem to find a way to act as their own worst enemy.
"In the 25 years I served in Congress, Republicans never, ever, not one time agreed on what a healthcare proposal should look like. Not once. The perfect always becomes the enemy of the good."