Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Bipartisan groups of governors, House members propose fixes for subsidized health insurance

Congress has tried and so far failed to repeal or replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, so a bipartisan group of governors is trying to repair it. The seven Democrats and six Republicans in the Governors' Bipartisan Health Reform Learning Network have crafted a slew of proposals: They want "federal money to stabilize the ACA’s health insurance marketplaces, and greater power to manage them," Michael Ollove reports for Stateline. "They argue it should be easier for states to customize Medicaid, the joint federal-state health insurance for the poor, and they want new tools to curb fast-rising drug prices. And they insist that states should continue to regulate the health policies sold within their borders."

The group, which was assembled by the National Governors Association in March, released a list of its ideas in June. They plan to continue meeting for the next 18 months to distill their ideas into policy proposals that, they hope, will be enacted through congressional legislation or Cabinet-issued regulations. The states in the governors' group are: California, Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.

In Washington, a bipartisan group of House members called the Problem Solvers Caucus has also proposed some fixes: "permanently funding extra Obamacare subsidies for cost-sharing discounts, repealing the ACA’s medical device tax, giving states greater flexibility to manage their marketplaces and creating a federal fund to help cover the costs of the sickest, most expensive patients," Paige Winfield Cunningham reports for The Washington Post. "Yet Republicans face ongoing, heavy pressure from the White House to revisit their partisan repeal-and-replace effort, largely via a string of tweets from President Trump blasting them for failing to pass a bill and threatening to hold hostage extra Obamacare subsidies for insurers that could help stabilize the marketplaces." Those cost-sharing discounts are especially important to rural areas.

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