Tierney Sneed · Thursday, March 09, 2017, 5:02 pm
Republicans pushing for passage of GOP leadership's Obamacare replacement bill were able to head off a major intra-party fight over how the legislation handled Medicaid expansion -- at least for now, as supporters of phasing out expansion even sooner than the current bill withdrew an amendment to that effect Thursday.
Under the leadership's bill, the American Health Care Act, Medicaid expansion would be allowed to continue until the end of 2019, at which point enrollment would be frozen, with the expectation that the program would wither away on its own. Conservatives are pushing for that deadline to come sooner, and Wednesday, during the mark up of the AHCA in the Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) introduced an amendment that would have frozen the program at the end of 2017. By Thursday morning, as criticisms of the idea from expansion state Republicans began to rack up, the amendment had been withdrawn and the bill passed by the committee with its expansion provisions as is.