GOP lawmaker 'choked back tears' after learning his own health bill won't cover preexisting conditions
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows (Gage Skidmore/Flickr).

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), a member of the staunchly conservative House Freedom Caucus, got emotional this week when he considered the impact of the health care bill he and his colleagues passed earlier this month.


The Independent Journal Review's Haley Byrd reports that Meadows "choked back tears" while talking with reporters about the Congressional Budget Office's score of the American Health Care Act. Among other things, Meadows took issue with the CBO's estimate that his bill's high-risk pools would not be funded nearly enough to be useful to the vast majority of Americans with preexisting conditions.

"Listen, I lost my sister to breast cancer," an emotional Meadows told reporters. "I lost my dad to lung cancer. If anybody is sensitive to preexisting conditions, it’s me. I’m not going to make a political decision today that affects somebody’s sister or father because I wouldn’t do it to myself."

Meadows pledged to conduct his own analysis of the CBO's numbers and to add needed funds to the high-risk pools to ensure that people with preexisting conditions can get covered.

"In the end, we’ve got to make sure there’s enough funding there to handle preexisting conditions and drive down premiums," he said. "And if we can’t do those three things, then we will have failed."

The CBO this week estimated that 23 million fewer people would have health insurance under the American Health Care Act by 2016 than would have it under the current law.