In the Wall Street Journal, Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Mike Rounds (R-SD) write that their bipartisan bill is the short-term solution to reduce health-insurance premiums and avoid chaos in the individual market so 18 million Americans won’t be hurt. After eight years of ObamaCare speeches and votes but zero legislative victories, they argue that their bill actually could make conservative ideas law. It would permanently roll back some restrictions on states and allow anyone to buy a lower-cost catastrophic plan. To achieve these conservative victories, cost-sharing reduction payments should be expanded for two more years.
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Republicans should focus on revisions and improvements to the state-innovation-waiver provision in the A.C.A. As part of that provision, Section 1332 allows states to receive federal financial support in a lump sum and to waive or revise many of Obamacare’s most noteworthy provisions, including its mandates, the structure and administration of subsidies provided by it, and covered benefits. In return for this flexibility, states must certify that the changes will still result in coverage that is as comprehensive, affordable and widespread as that provided for under the law.

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Finally, a Republican has gotten a boost from the CBO. A bipartisan Senate plan to try to stabilize Affordable Care Act marketplaces would lower the federal deficit by nearly $3.8 billion during the next decade and would not affect the number of people with health insurance, Congress’s official budget scorekeepers said Wednesday. This bill does what the CBO predicted Congress would eventually need to do so the costs were built in to existing budget estimates.
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A bipartisan Senate proposal to stabilize health insurance markets and continue paying subsidies to insurance companies would produce a modest reduction in federal budget deficits but would not substantially change the number of people with coverage, the Congressional Budget Office said on Wednesday.
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Anthem’s membership in the Affordable Care Act marketplaces will decline by 70% in 2018, executives told investors Wednesday on the insurer’s third-quarter earnings call. About 1.4 million people had ACA-compliant plans with Anthem as of Sept. 30, 900,000 of whom bought coverage on the exchanges.

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As California health care officials brace themselves for changes to the Affordable Care Act by President Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress, state lawmakers today and Tuesday will hold a hearing examining the gaps in coverage and financing of California’s current system.

Among the topics expected to be front and center is single-payer health care and Senate Bill 562, introduced earlier this year by Senators Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, and Toni Atkins, D-San Diego. That controversial proposal would replace California’s private health insurance market with a single, government-run plan with no premiums or deductibles for nearly 40 million Californians.
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The leaders of two major congressional committees reached a deal to fund Obamacare insurer payments in exchange for delaying enforcement of the law’s individual and employer mandates.

The chairmen of the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees released the framework of the deal Tuesday.
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Republicans returning to Washington will decide in coming days whether to embrace or set aside a bipartisan health bill that has gained traction in Congress, a decision potentially made harder by President Donald Trump’s statements praising the effort but opposing the bill itself. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said on Sunday the bipartisan bill’s support includes all 48 Senate Democrats as well as the 12 publicly committed Republicans, enough to overcome any filibuster.

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Conservatives are supposed to get two wins in the Alexander-Murray bill. The first is the creation of “copper” plans within the Obamacare exchanges. Moderate Democrats have championed this idea as a way for consumers to buy plans with lower premiums and higher deductibles than others available on the exchange. But because the plans would still be subject to Obamacare’s regulations, they would still be a far cry from the low-cost catastrophic plans that conservatives would like to see. The deal also gives states a little more flexibility — but constrains that flexibility in a way that makes it valueless. States would have to show that any policy changes they make would lead to a comparable number of people having the same kind of comprehensive coverage that Obamacare seeks to foster. But that’s not the kind of coverage conservatives want to make the focus of public policy.

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President Donald Trump will support a bipartisan bill on health care only if it includes a series of conservative measures that Republicans sought in their failed effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a White House spokesman said Thursday, as two senators officially unveiled the legislation without many of those demands. In order for Mr. Trump to support such legislation, it must provide relief from the ACA’s requirement that most people have health coverage or pay a penalty, the spokesman said Thursday. It should also roll back or end the requirement that certain employers provide health coverage, the White House official said.

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