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Alex Brandon / AP

House Republican leaders are worried that a concession in the developing Trumpcare talks could make already anxious moderates run away from the bill. The proposal is to allow states to get rid of the "community rating" provision that prevents insurers from charging higher rates to sick people.

Why it's a problem: Most Republicans have been adamant that they're going to keep covering people with pre-existing conditions (as has President Trump). It's one of the most popular parts of Obamacare. But without the "community rating" provision, insurers could jack up the premiums for people with health problems — and make it so expensive that they lose coverage because they can't afford it anymore.

  • A leadership source who has a good read of the conference says the deal could have a negative impact on more than just Tuesday Group (moderate) votes. The source's view is that touching community rating is harmful and allows the Freedom Caucus to ultimately shift blame away from themselves for the inevitable failure of the new bill.
  • This is something we keep hearing from Republican leadership and moderates: they don't want to let the Freedom Caucus say they've been reasonable and potentially convince Trump to cast the blame on Paul Ryan and the moderates.
  • The Democratic attack ads on pre-existing conditions write themselves: "If people can't afford their coverage, they're not covered," per a House Democratic leadership aide.
  • But conservatives have been targeting the provision a long time, because they're convinced it's one of the reasons individual health insurance has gotten so expensive.
  • For the Freedom Caucus / outside group perspective, here's an influential conservative leader: "Conservatives were right that regulations were linchpin of deal — Heritage Action and Freedom Caucus been pushing this since day one. Moderates should embrace it as federalism even if they like some of the regulations that get rolled back... This is very very far from full repeal, which means conservatives have given up A LOT, and the text of the White House needs to be legit to make it worth it."

Go deeper

Updated 3 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

Biden delivers his inaugural address on the West Front of the Capitol. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Biden has delivered his inaugural address at the Capitol, calling for an end to the politics as total war but warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country.

What's next: Biden signs executive orders and swears in day one presidential appointees in a virtual ceremony.

Mike Allen, author of AM
22 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's inauguration signals a great American reset

President Biden prepares to walk the abbreviated parade route in front of the White House after the inauguration. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

President Biden had exited his Cadillac with the new "46" license plates and was strolling a short stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue toward his new home when he spotted "Today" show weather legend Al Roker.

The big picture: Biden dropped Jill Biden's hand — no warning — and trotted over to the delighted Roker. POTUS gave Roker a fist bump and said, "Gotta keep doing this!" It was a very Joe moment in a day that was designed to signal a return to normality in a turbulent America.

Chuck Schumer is now majority leader as 3 new Democratic senators are sworn in

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is officially Senate majority leader after the inauguration of Vice President Kamala Harris and the swearing-in of new Sens. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.).

Why it matters: With a 50-50 Senate, Schumer will control a narrow majority with Harris as the tie-breaking vote. Democratic control of the Senate is crucial to President Biden's agenda, from getting his coronavirus relief proposal passed to forgiving student debt.