- The Washington Times - Monday, April 10, 2017

The Club for Growth said Monday it will spend $1 million on ads prodding centrist Republicans to rally behind a White House plan that would allow states to waive parts of Obamacare that have been blamed for rising premiums.

David McIntosh, president of the conservative pressure group, says the plan negotiated by Vice President Mike Pence is the best way to revive the sputtering repeal effort in the House, but there are “a few moderates that have worked to thwart these efforts.”

The club will kick off its campaign Tuesday with nationwide ads touting President Trump’s efforts to devise a better health care bill “that lowers premiums, cuts taxes, and repeals Obamacare.”

By Thursday, the group will target 10 GOP centrists with ads urging them to embrace the Pence plan, which would let states seek waivers from provisions in the Affordable Care Act that require insurers to cover a slate of essential benefits, charge the same amount to healthy and sick consumers in a geographic area and issue plans to people with preexisting conditions.

Centrists say those protections are popular, so it would be foolhardy to let them disappear as part of their Obamacare repeal effort.

But conservatives say killing the provisions will lower premiums for healthy people, while sicker patients would be backstopped by a risk-sharing program that sets aside $15 billion over nine year to reimburse insurers who take on high-risk consumers.

Mr. McIntosh said allowing states to opt out, rather than repealing the provisions outright, is a Solomonic solution.

“We think this effort that Vice President Pence worked out is a great way to split the middle on that,” Mr. McIntosh said.

Mr. Pence negotiated the idea to win over members the hard-line House Freedom Caucus who say the initial bill pushed by House Speaker Paul D. Ryan wouldn’t have slashed premiums for constituents reeling from Obamacare’s effects on the individual insurance market.

The new ads will target Rep. Chris Collins, New York Republican, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Illinois Republican, and eight yet-to-be-named centrists, the club said in a conference call.

Both of the named members supported the initial version of the GOP repeal bill, which had to be yanked from the House floor, yet the club said it is targeting the men for expressing reservations about the Pence plan.

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