July 31, 2017

REFORM, NOT REPEAL:

Centrist lawmakers plot bipartisan health care stabilization bill (HEATHER CAYGLE and PAUL DEMKO 07/30/2017, Politico)

Their plan focuses on immediately stabilizing the insurance market and then pushing for Obamacare changes that have received bipartisan backing in the past.

The most significant proposal is funding for Obamacare's cost-sharing subsidies. Insurers rely on these payments - estimated to be $7 billion this year -- to reduce out-of-pocket costs for their poorest Obamacare customers. [...]

The bipartisan working group also wants to change Obamacare's employer mandate so that it applies only to companies with more than 500 workers. Currently companies with at least 50 workers can be hit with a tax penalty if they don't provide coverage to their workers.

The group also wants to create a federal stability fund - dollar amount unspecified -- that states can tap to reduce premiums and other costs for people with extremely expensive medical needs. Both the Senate and House repeal packages contained similar pots of money.

The bipartisan proposal also calls for scrapping Obamacare's medical-device tax, an idea that has received bipartisan support in the past.

Finally, the working group is seeking greater flexibility for state innovation. Obamacare already allows state to seek waivers from coverage rules, but the lawmakers want additional guidance on how states can take advantage of them.

Posted by at July 31, 2017 5:02 AM

  

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