Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.) said Monday that he opposes the revised GOP ObamaCare replacement bill because it weakens protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
Long’s announcement was unexpected, and a bad sign for GOP leaders looking to round up enough votes to be able to pass the measure as soon as this week. Long was not on the radar as a possible no vote.
“I have always stated that one of the few good things about ObamaCare is that people with pre-existing conditions would be covered,” Long said in a statement. “The MacArthur amendment strips away any guarantee that pre-existing conditions would be covered and affordable.”
The amendment from Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) is a revision to the bill that brought on board most of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.
It allows states to apply for a waiver for one of ObamaCare’s core protections for people with pre-existing conditions, known as community rating. If that were repealed, insurers could go back to charging sick people exorbitant premiums, which could put coverage out of reach.