By Dani Graham
In the ultimate act of betrayal, the House Freedom Caucus announced Wednesday that it will be supporting the Obamacare-lite healthcare bill, the AHCA after an amendment was added.
The MacArthur amendment, named after one of its authors Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) in a joint effort with Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), gives States the opportunity to obtain a Limited Waiver from some of the federal mandates. This waiver can only be approved if the States show that its intention is to lower premium costs or expand coverage to more people.
The statement released by the Freedom Caucus had this to say about the amendment:
“The MacArthur amendment will grant states the ability to repeal cost driving aspects of Obamacare left in place under the original AHCA. While the revised version still does not fully repeal Obamacare, we are prepared to support it to keep our promise to the American people to lower healthcare costs,”
Over the last three elections in 2010, 2014 and 2016 Republicans have been given the majority of all branches of government. One of the main reasons for their success was their promise of a complete repeal of Obamacare with a Conservative free market option to replace it. Even though Republicans now have a mandate to repeal Obamacare, instead they unveil Obamacare 2.0, aka Trumpcare, instead.
The Freedom Caucus represents the conservative arm of the Republican party. As such, it appropriately and effectively derailed the watered-down socialist healthcare bill that the GOP attempted to pass last month. Its opposition forced the Republican leadership to do an about-face and in the end, the bill was pulled just before it was brought to a vote.
At the time, the courage of the HFC to stand up against the establishment leaders and the President to oppose this healthcare bill energized a group of grassroots activists, United With Freedom Caucus. They actively supported the Freedom Caucus while encouraging others Representatives to join them in keeping their promise to the American people of a full repeal of Obamacare. Their hashtag #UnitedWithFreedomCaucus began trending quickly. As their group grew, they captured the attention of many representatives. The group designated daily missions directed at all Republican House members with a specific messages based on where each representative stood on this issue.
These patriotic citizens worked tirelessly logging in countless hours of activism to encourage the members of the Freedom Caucus and the Republican Party to stand strong in keeping the promises they made. They may not have succeeded in their initial goal, but they did make a difference. The moment the disappointing announcement was made, the group changed its name to “United For Freedom” (UFF).
Its name may have changed, but its mission hasn’t. In true patriotic fashion this group is not giving up and in fact, one of its founding members, Chris Zeller, said they will continue to “fight like hell“. He went on to say that there are “basically two schools of thought“: those who are angry and frustrated and those who:
“hope that the Liberty minded Senators are going to significantly improve the bill and send it back to the House”. Mr. Zeller declared he subscribed to the latter and hoped that Senators Cruz, Paul, Lee, and Cotton would “help move this bill towards an actual repeal and iterative return to free market solutions for healthcare”.
In all fairness, the FC members had been placed in a precarious position, however, conservatives would typically denounce any form of government control especially with healthcare.
Bill Blood, another founding member of UFF, is grateful to the Freedom Caucus for fighting as hard as it did. He believes that although it wasn’t able to accomplish what it promised, it is responsible for the positive changes that did occur. Mr. Blood explained that, the failure to fully repeal Obamacare doesn’t lie with the FC and in reality, “if it weren’t for them Trumpcare would have passed on the first round“. He vowed that the “work will continue until we fully repeal Obamacare“.
There is one essential element that we must realize. This battle over healthcare has shown that Republican legislators are just as self-serving and hypocritical as their supposed opposition. After years of criticizing Democrats from exempting themselves from Obamacare, it was recently discovered that The MacArthur amendment exempts Republicans and their staff from the changes they made in the bill.
The bill lands another blow to Conservatives by continuing to fund Planned Parenthood, even though the original version would have defunded it for at least one year. It’s difficult to ignore the recent meeting that the Presidents daughter, Ivanka Trump had with PP and what possible role that played in the decision to break yet another long-time promise to defund the organization.
The spotlight is now on the moderate House Republicans as the GOP works to get the 216 votes required for it to pass and move on to the Senate floor. Should the bill pass the House and move to the Senate the fight to fully repeal Obamacare will continue. One thing is certain. True conservatives will fight until the very end and even then they will not concede. Surrender is not an option.