N.C. Rep Mark Meadows: Negotiations continue on health care reform
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) —
In this week’s Connect to Congress, News 13 spoke with Rep. Mark Meadows (R-11th District), the chairman of the Freedom Caucus. The group has been credited for canceling the vote on the GOP health care plan. Members said they would not vote for the bill, which meant that House Republicans would not have enough votes for it to pass.
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News 13 asked Rep. Meadows if the Freedom Caucus members now sort of "own" the Affordable Care Act.
"Well, I don’t think that anybody owns the Affordable Care Act, other than really the legislators that passed it into law," Meadows said. "Obviously as we look at repealing it we’ve got to make sure we get it right for the American people, specifically I’ve got to make sure I get it right for my district."
Rep. Meadows also said the bill he looked at last week would have adversely affected too many of his constituents.
President Donald Trump has suggested the ACA will "implode." News 13 asked Rep. Meadows if the Freedom Caucus would bear any responsibility for people who might lose coverage.
While he said that "perhaps a disproportionate share" of the responsibility falls on the Freedom Caucus, he also said it falls on every member of Congress.
"But ultimately the implosion of the Affordable Care Act, the premiums that continue to go up each and every day are really an indication of a law that had good intention but has terrible said effects," Meadows said. "I’m committed to being here and trying to make sure we find some real solutions that not only repeal it and give some relief there, but make sure those that need a safety net, that we will handle that as well."
Pres. Trump gave House Republicans a first deadline of Thurs., Mar. 23 to vote on & pass the GOP health care reform bill, then delayed the vote to Friday. Minutes before the vote, after meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan, the President told Ryan to pull the bill and cancel the vote.
On Tuesday, Pres. Trump suggested a deal on health care could be reached very quickly, despite saying earlier that he’s moving on from health care. News 13 asked Meadows what’s changed since Friday—the day the vote was canceled.
"I think the change is really that we had an artificial deadline of last Thursday or Friday that was set here in the House," Rep. Meadows said. "The negotiations didn’t stop on Thursday or Friday when the bill was pulled."
Meadows said that negotiations continued over the weekend.
"The optimism coming from the White House is really based on a number of private conversations, private negotiations are taking place," he said. "Yesterday and again we’ve got another three meetings this afternoon (Wednesday)."
The North Carolina congressman made it very clear what he wants to see out of those negotiations.
"We need to see one thing and that is premiums must come down for the citizens of North Carolina, but not just for North Carolina but across the country," Meadows said. "So at the end of the day, whether we succeed or fail will be judged by one metrics, and that is really when people open up their insurance premium—does it actually go down?"