Amash, Freedom Caucus Say Health Care ‘Deal’ Reports are False

Comes after some HFC members met with Pence and Priebus

House Freedom Caucus member Rep. Justin Amash, R-Michigan, shot down reports of a deal with the White House to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Justin Amash and the House Freedom Caucus say talks of a deal with the White House on tweaks to legislation that would repeal the 2010 health care law are premature.

Several HFC members suggested after a Monday meeting with Trump administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, that they would see a legislative outline of some of the administration’s proposed changes to their health care package on Tuesday.

Reps. Scott Desjarlais, Mark Sanford, and Trent Franks suggested they had heard substantive details from the administration and remained hopeful that a deal could be reached. 

But Amash and the Freedom Caucus tweeted responses after a report in Politico that the conservative rabble rousers were considering a deal.


Asked whether the changes he heard described in the meeting would move some nos to yesses, Desjarlais said he wants to see legislative text before saying he could support anything. 

“In concept, I think they’ve laid out some things that, if it was as they say, that could happen,” he said. 

Pence didn’t answer questions on whether a vote on health care was coming this week after the 45-minute meeting in the Rayburn House Office Building.

“Just talking,” Priebus said in response to questions about where legislation stands.

Arizona Rep. Trent Franks, another Freedom Caucus member, said the idea of having Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price allow states to deregulate essential health benefits was a “certainly great deal better than a federal top-down mandate.”

When asked if he would back such a proposal to give individual states the option, Franks said that was “a tremendous step in the right direction, but that’s as far as I’m going to comment.”

Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows said he had zero knowledge of any proposed changes on another go-round of repealing and replacing the health care law.

Meadows said his understanding of any reported details for proposals were coming from the White House.

While he acknowledged speaking with administration officials in the last 72 hours, Meadows would say what was discussed. He said he has not spoken with Speaker Paul D. Ryan on the matter and did not know how much Ryan was involved in potential negotiations.

— Erin Mershon and Rema Rahman contributed to this report.Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.