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Reps. Tom MacArthur and Mark Meadows are working together on an individual market stabilization package, according to a senior GOP aide. It will include funding for the Affordable Care Act's cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers, although it's unclear for how long. While the duo has ideas for the rest of the package, they're open to input — especially from the Senate, where they're actively courting support.
The catch: One crucial piece, according to a second GOP aide, is an agreement on "very flexible 1332 waiver language" in exchange for CSR funding. The state waivers are an important priority for conservative Republicans. Discussions are currently only among Republicans, but could include Democrats in the future.
The goals of the package are to reduce premiums, stabilize the marketplaces and offer some kind of tax relief. They've had some discussions with individual senators, including one of the three Republicans who voted against the "skinny repeal" package (the aide declined to say which one). Serious discussions started sometime last week, after MacArthur approached Meadows about working together.
Context: Meadows and MacArthur — a former co-chair of the moderate Tuesday Group — worked together on a waiver provision in the House ACA replacement bill that ultimately got it across the finish line. Since the ACA repeal effort failed in the Senate, Meadows has adamantly suggested that the fight to repeal the law isn't over, but this new effort suggests the Freedom Caucus chairman realizes the stakes of ignoring the individual market in the meantime.