White House Endorses Free Market Amendment To Obamacare

Republican U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz speaks to supporters during his five state primary night rally in Knightstown, Indiana, U.S., April 26, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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A top White House official suggested Sunday that the administration is in favor of an amendment to the Senate health care bill pushed by GOP Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah.

The amendment, known as “Consumer Choice,” allows insurers to sell plans that do not follow regulations created under Obamacare for patients with pre-existing conditions, with the caveat that insurers have to sell at least one plan that adheres to Obamacare’s mandates. The proposal would allow insurers to sell cheaper plans with fewer benefits.

“We hope it’s part of the process of bringing everybody together,” White House legislative affairs director Marc Short said on Fox News Sunday.

Short compared the recent negotiations between hard-line conservative and moderate Republicans in the Senate to the drawn out Obamacare repeal effort in the House, where the same divide threatened to upend the process entirely. (RELATED: Divide Between GOP Members Of Congress Isn’t Going Anywhere)

Cruz promises his amendment would help to lower premiums for all consumers and would allow younger, healthier consumers to obtain cheaper health insurance. Experts fear that the Cruz-Lee amendment would bifurcate the insurance marketplace to an extent that sick people would lose Obamacare protections entirely.

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