A bipartisan group of governors is trying to jump-start efforts to strengthen private insurance under the Affordable Care Act, urging Congress to take prompt steps to stabilize marketplaces created by law while giving states more freedom from its rules.
In a blueprint issued Thursday, the eight governors ask House and Senate leaders of both parties to take several steps to reverse the rising rates and dwindling choices facing many of the 10 million Americans who buy health plans on their own through ACA marketplaces.
Specifically, the state leaders say Congress should devote money for at least two years toward “cost-sharing subsidies” that the 2010 health-care law promises to pay ACA insurers to offset deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses for lower-income customers.
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Congressional Democrats may be tempted to think they shouldn’t negotiate with Republicans on health care because, so far, the GOP has shown itself incapable of fulfilling its commitment to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). “Why rescue Republicans from their failure?” the thinking goes.
This is a short-sighted perspective. Yes, the GOP effort has stalled, but, absent some kind of bipartisan deal which brings more stability and consensus to health policy, it is still possible that Republicans will succeed in pushing substantial changes on their own, despite strong opposition from Democrats.
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Govs. John Kasich of Ohio (R) and John Hickenlooper of Colorado (D) announced Monday that they have reached an agreement on a bipartisan proposal to stabilize ObamaCare markets.
The governors, who have been calling for bipartisanship on healthcare in a series of recent interviews, are not yet releasing the details of their stabilization plan.
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Sen. Lamar Alexander will hold bipartisan hearings in early September in a last minute attempt to assure insurers of the federal government’s commitment to the individual market, and pave the way for states to ask for flexibility on insurance benefits.
Alexander, R-Tenn., is looking to drum up support for a “bipartisan way to get a limited result that actually helps people” after tumultuous months of heated debate over whether to repeal-and-replace the Affordable Care Act that ultimately handed the Republicans a defeat.
Alexander wants to extend cost-sharing reduction payments through 2018, and change a section of the ACA to give states more flexibility.
The timing will be difficult, he said, but necessary.
He preferred a repeal, but now wants to make sure that insurers don’t have a reason to decide last minute to pull out of the exchange
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A bipartisan Senate health panel is set to meet on Obamacare in September, but lawmakers disagree on funding for insurer payments that would otherwise lead to more exits from health insurance companies and higher premiums for people who don’t receive subsidies.
Members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee are holding hearings Sept. 6-7 to discuss how to keep premiums from rising much more than they are, particularly if the payments, called cost-sharing reduction subsidies, or CSRs, are not funded. If cut off, a Congressional Budget Office analysis found, premiums would rise by an average of 20 percent next year.
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Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) are working on a bipartisan proposal to stabilize ObamaCare that they say could be unveiled as soon as a week from now.
“We’re getting very close,” Kasich said in a joint interview with Hickenlooper on Colorado Public Radio. “I just talked to my guys today, and men and women who are working on this with John’s people, and we think we’ll have some specifics here. John, I actually think we could have it within a week.”
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Ohio Gov. John Kasich said he and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper are planning to release proposals as early as next week on how to repair Obamacare’s exchanges.
“We’re getting very close,” Kasich, a Republican, said in a joint interview with Hickenlooper on Colorado Public Radio on Monday. “I just talked to my guys today, men and women who are working on this with John’s people, and we think we’ll have some specifics here … I think we could have it within a week.”
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Senators looking for ways to stabilize the individual health insurance market will hear from governors and state health insurance commissioners at their first bipartisan hearings next month.
The hearings, set for Sept. 6-7, will focus on stabilizing premiums and helping people in the individual market in light of Congress’ failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
“Eighteen million Americans, including 350,000 Tennesseans – songwriters, farmers, and the self-employed – do not get their health insurance from the government or on the job, which means they must buy insurance in the individual market,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Republican who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
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A group of liberal and conservative health policy experts argues that critical matters relating to health reform must be addressed quickly and that bipartisan approaches are possible. They offer five recommendations for near-term action to protect coverage and health care access for people who are relying on them now while providing new flexibility for the states to offer more affordable, attractive policies. Signatories include: Joseph Antos, Stuart Butler, Lanhee Chen, John McDonough, Ron Pollack, Sara Rosenbaum, Grace-Marie Turner, Vikki Wachino, and Gail Wilensky.
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Republicans in Congress haven’t repealed or replaced Obama Care, but the Trump Administration still has an obligation to help Americans facing higher premiums and fewer choices. One incremental improvement would be rescinding regulations on temporary health-insurance plans.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) this summer sent a letter to the Health and Human Services Department about an Obama rule on short-term, limited-duration health insurance plans, which as the name suggests offer coverage for certain periods, often insuring against hospitalizations or other unexpected events. A person could hold such a plan for 364 days, but a rule issued last year limited the duration of the policy to a mere 90 days, effective April 1.
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