Washington, D.C. — After Senate Republicans failed to come to bipartisan consensus on the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), the Center for American Progress is releasing a first-of-its-kind legislative proposal based on bipartisan proposals to stabilize the markets, lower premiums, and help individuals who are currently in bare markets without insurance options.
“Nearly all Americans agree that gutting the Medicaid program to give a giant tax break to the rich is not the path forward to health care reform. Today, CAP is proposing a step toward bipartisan change using ideas espoused by both Republicans and Democrats that will actually help American families and workers by lowering premiums and making insurance available where it currently is not. Senate Republicans can choose one of two paths: force through repeal, or work through a bipartisan bill to ensure their constituents have the health care they need and deserve,” said Neera Tanden, president and CEO of CAP.
CAP’s proposed legislation, the Market Stability and Premium Reduction Act, consists of three central measures:
- Lower premiums: By guaranteeing continued funding for ACA subsidies, the bill will help lower premiums and stabilize the market.
- Reimburse insurers for high-cost enrollees: The proposal mirrors proven solutions currently working in Alaska and Maine. In Alaska, this so-called reinsurance program recently lowered premium increases from 40 percent to less than 10 percent. CAP’s proposal gives $15 billion to states for reinsurance.
- Provide options in bare markets. Proposals might include exempting insurers who enter bare markets to provide insurance from Health Insurance Tax; offering a Guaranteed Choice Plan in areas where there are not enough options; or allowing people in underserved counties to buy into the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program (FEHBP).
The plan puts forth several pay-for suggestions that include reform to Medicare payments for care and drugs, one of which was supported by now U.S. Health and Human Secretary Tom Price when he was a member of the House of Representatives.
Insurance markets are deteriorating rapidly for the 2018 plan year under the current administration. There is now clear evidence that this deterioration is due to massive policy uncertainty. The constant threat of repeal is a big source of uncertainty. In addition, the administration constantly threatens to discontinue payments for cost-sharing subsidies and to weaken enforcement of the individual mandate.