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(Susan Walsh / AP)

Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the conservative hardliner House Freedom Caucus, is voicing what many health care experts are saying: The current Obamacare repeal and replacement bill being considered by the House would actually raise premiums.

That has huge political ramifications. Speaker Paul Ryan and the rest of House leadership are gambling conservatives will eventually vote yes on the bill when it comes to the House floor, because it is Obamacare Repeal. But if Meadows — backed up by wonks of all ideologies — can say the House bill is actually worse for people than Obamacare, then he is perfectly free to vote no on it.

The key quote:

"Obviously we're going to try to make this bill better where it actually lowers premiums," Meadows told reporters. "That's why there's not enough votes, because at this point, the number one priority – the top priority, you can throw everything away – is driving premiums down. If we don't do that, we will have failed, and we must do that in order to be successful."

Why premiums would go up, explained by Meadows:

"If you take healthy people off and you keep all the mandates that are there...premiums will go up. I think in the short run, because of some of the other things that are in the bill, in the short run premiums could come down for a year. But over a ten-year period, I think premiums would go up, just the way this is structured."

What he wants: All of Obamacare's insurance regulations and market reforms to be repealed through the bill. This includes the pre-existing conditions protections — he says pre-existing conditions can be protected through different mechanisms — and the essential health benefits, which drive insurance costs up.

But how? The problem is that the Senate's rules about budget reconciliation, which is the method being used to repeal Obamacare without any Democrats, don't allow non-budgetary measures to be included in the legislation. But Meadows says he thinks there's a winning case to be made that these pieces of Obamacare do, in fact, impact the budget and thus can be included.

Go deeper

AP: Justice Dept. rescinds "zero tolerance" policy

A young girl waves to onlookers through the fence at the US-Mexico border wall at Friendship Park in San Ysidro, California in Nov. 2018. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden's acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson issued a memo on Tuesday to revoke the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, which separated thousands of migrant children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border, AP first reported.

Driving the news: A recent report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz emphasized the internal chaos at the agency over the implementation of the policy, which resulted in 545 parents separated from their children as of October 2020.

Biden picks up his pen to change the tone on racial equity

Vice President Harris looks on as President Biden signs executives orders related to his racial equity agenda. Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

President Biden is making a down payment on racial equity in a series of executive orders dealing with everything from private prisons to housing discrimination, treatment of Asian Americans and relations with indigenous tribes.

The big picture: Police reform and voting rights legislation will take time to pass in Congress. But with the stroke of his pen, one week into the job Biden is taking steps within his power as he seeks to change the tone on racial justice from former President Trump.

Most Senate Republicans join Rand Paul effort to dismiss Trump's 2nd impeachment trial

Photo: Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images

Forty-five Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, supported an effort to dismiss former President Trump's second impeachment trial.

Why it matters: The vote serves as a precursor to how senators will approach next month's impeachment trial, making it highly unlikely the Senate will vote to convict. The House impeached Trump for a second time for "incitement of insurrection" following events from Jan 6. when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.