WASHINGTON, D.C. — Barring any major changes to the proposed American Health Care Act through the day Thursday, 1st District Congressman David McKinley (R-W.Va.) said he would be voting for the potential Obamacare replacement.
“There’s a lot of intrigue and it’s very fluid. Things could change,” McKinley said of ongoing AHCA negotiations during an appearance on Thursday morning’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
The vote in the U.S. House of Representatives was expected on Thursday night or possibly in the early morning hours Friday.
As of Thursday morning, it was not clear if there was enough support among House Republicans for passage.
No Democrats were expected to vote for the proposal.
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were directly involved in bill negotiations.
In a Wednesday meeting with President Trump, McKinley said he committed to supporting the health legislation if Trump backed efforts to keep health care and pension benefits intact for UMWA retirees beyond April when the current benefits end.
“He assured me, unequivocally, he said, ‘I’m with you.’ He said the miners are something very key to him and, with that support, I told him that I would be a ‘yes’ vote,” McKinley said.
“It was good, old-fashioned horse trading and I think it was effective with it. That’s what we’ve been doing for the last two weeks, three weeks on this is trying to get some other negotiations.”
With AHCA, McKinley said coverage for pre-existing conditions and black lung will continue.
Other changes made this week that strengthen the bill, in McKinley’s view, would allow insurance to be sold across state lines, permit small businesses to pool together for insurance purchases and make a Medicaid work requirement an option for states.
As proposed, AHCA would end the ACA individual mandate for health insurance retroactive to Dec. 31, 2015 along with the tax penalties assessed annually for not having coverage.
Income-based subsidies currently available to people buying health insurance on ACA exchanges are to be replaced with tax credits determined by age and income.
As for the end of the Medicaid expansion within the bill, effective in 2020, McKinley argued those currently on the expansion would be grandfathered in at the current 90 percent reimbursement rate.
Reimbursements for those who leave the federal program and then return to it would fall after 2020 to 73 percent, what McKinley said was the 2nd highest reimbursement rate in the U.S.
The West Virginia Legislature could opt, at that point, to reduce the number of people eligible for Medicaid to deal with higher costs through the greater share.
“I don’t think that’s going to happen because I’d like to think that our Legislature is sensitive enough that these are people in transition and we need to keep help for them,” McKinley said.
On Wednesday, 2nd District Congressman Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.) said he was “still evaluating the legislation and reviewing amendments that are still being considered that could change the underlying bill. I am also listening to input from my constituents in the 2nd District.”
A spokesperson for 3rd District Congressman Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.) provided a similar response on Wednesday.
Earlier this week, the New York Times had both McKinley and Mooney on its “support” column for the AHCA, while Jenkins was on the separate “undecided or unclear” list.
McKinley’s vote may change. “That’s going to be dependent upon if they make significant changes that alter where we are,” McKinley said on Thursday morning.
Thursday marked seven years since President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law.