Conservatives unveil ACA repeal plan as bipartisan governors rally around pre-existing condition protections

Health insurance, pen and stethoscope
Only months before the critical 2018 midterm elections, conservatives are pushing for yet another attempt at repealing the Affordable Care Act. (Getty/Minerva Studio)

Conservative groups and state Republican leaders are pushing for another attempt at repealing the Affordable Care Act, and this one looks very much like the last.

Congress could completely overhaul the 2010 law and end essential health benefits, reinstate lifetime caps and rescind pre-existing condition protections if they follow the advice of conservative groups. Those groups, including Galen Institute, released a proposal Tuesday that focused on carving out room for innovation at the state level. 

The proposal would also repeal cost-sharing reduction subsidies and the Medicaid expansion, replacing them with block grants to the states, similar to last year's Graham-Cassidy bill.

Right-wing groups have been crafting new policies for months alongside Republicans, including Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, Mississippi Gov. Phil Pryant and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. White House staffers have also been attending the group's meetings, according to The Hill

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"After efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare fell short last year, many in Congress seem resigned to accepting the status quo or even willing to bail out and prop up the program," the proposal said. "But Obamacare is broken, can’t be fixed, and continues to do great harm."

Conservative groups plan to officially announce the proposal Wednesday in Washington.

However, Republicans as a party are unlikely to throw their support behind the regulatory changes, as several components of the proposal are unpopular within the party. Many centrist Republicans have also said they have no interest in reviving ACA repeal efforts.

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At the same time, a group of nine governors, including three Republicans, have announced their support for pre-existing condition protections under the ACA, and denounced the Trump's administration's refusal to defend the 2010 law in an ongoing lawsuit that also seeks to repeal such protections.

RELATED: CBO: ACA premiums to jump 15%, uninsured up 3M in 2019

"Helping our neighbors get health insurance even though they have a pre-existing condition is something Americans support and the Administration's action will hurt families in our states," the governors said in a statement June 18. "This is not right."

Governors on the statement include John Kasich of Ohio, Roy Cooper of North Carolina, Larry Hogan of Maryland and Steve Bullock of Montana, among others.