The leader of the 170-member Republican Study Committee blasted a nascent bipartisan deal to fund Obamacare insurer payments as a bailout.
The remarks from Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., head of the committee, underscores the difficulty of passing a narrow deal announced Tuesday in the House. The deal would fund cost-sharing reduction payments to Obamacare insurers in exchange for greater state flexibility.
"The GOP should focus on repealing & replacing Obamacare, not trying to save it," Walker tweeted from the RSC's account. "This bailout is unacceptable."
Many House Republicans have derided the payments as a bailout for the insurance industry, complicating efforts to pass any deal in the chamber.
President Trump decided late Thursday to end the payments starting Oct. 18. The payments reimburse insurers on Obamacare's exchanges for reducing out-of-pocket costs for low-income Obamacare enrollees.
The decision likely would lead to higher premiums next year as insurers are required to reduce co-pays and deductibles for the enrollees. Insurers have said they would increase premiums overall to recoup the costs.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., announced a bipartisan deal Thursday with Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., to fund the payments for two years in exchange for more flexibility for states to waive Obamacare insurance regulations. The deal also would restore $105 million in Obamacare outreach funding the administration cut, according to several published reports.
The House played a role in scuttling talks between Alexander and Murray last month. House Speaker Paul Ryan told Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that a deal wouldn't be viable in the Republican-led House, according to a source familiar with the matter. It is not clear if Ryan would be willing to consider the new deal.