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Conservative congressman: I'm still 'pathologically optimistic' about fixing health care

Republicans are still committed to lowering premiums under the Affordable Care Act despite a failed GOP health bill, Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., said Monday.

Days after the House pulled a key health care bill, Schweikert said that big price hikes in Obamacare premiums must be dealt with as the Arizona market is "imploding."

"I have a county right next door to me that had a 116 percent increase in their premiums. And all of Arizona has only one provider. So that problem hasn't gone away, particularly for states like mine," Schweikert, a founding member of the Freedom Caucus who lobbied his colleagues to vote yes on the GOP bill, said on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

House Republicans had contested that rising insurance premiums was the main reason for repealing and replacing Obamacare.

A revised estimate by the Congressional Budget Office showed, however, that average premiums for single customers in the GOP bill would have been 15 percent to 20 percent higher in 2018 and 2019 than it would be under Obamacare.

The CBO noted average premiums by 2026 were projected to be 10 percent lower than they would be under Obamacare.

Schweikert said some Republicans were worried that the GOP health bill didn't do enough to lower premiums in the individual market. But now that Republicans have aired their concerns, there's a path to a solution, he said.

"I'm still pathologically optimistic," he said.

After the political setback Friday, Speaker Paul Ryan said that Obamacare "is the law of the land" for the foreseeable future. President Donald Trump, who tried to rally support for the bill, said the administration would move to slashing taxes.