Washington, D.C. — Topher Spiro, vice president for Health Policy and senior fellow for Economic Policy at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement after news that Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) have reached a deal to stabilize the Affordable Care Act:
This bipartisan deal counters the Trump administration’s sabotage of the Affordable Care Act on two major fronts. First, by guaranteeing payments for cost-sharing subsidies, the deal will lower premiums by about 20 percent in 2019 and provide some much-needed certainty to insurance markets. Second, the deal restores critical funding for outreach and enrollment efforts and extends this funding to 2019.
For middle-income consumers who are not eligible for tax credits, the deal extends the option of catastrophic plans. Importantly, these plans will not splinter the risk pool, undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions, or gut essential health benefits. The deal provides for state flexibility to obtain waivers, while maintaining essential health benefits and ensuring affordability for lower-income populations.
This bipartisan deal sends an important signal that the Senate wants to see insurance markets work—not fail. Unfortunately, much damage has already been done. And other acts of sabotage—such as President Trump’s executive order to promote junk plans—are still a threat. It’s time to end these reckless threats so that millions of patients no longer have to live in fear that their health care is at risk.
This is the way the Senate is supposed to work: bipartisan public hearings and bipartisan negotiations. It’s what the American people overwhelmingly want. Republican leaders in Congress should now halt their endless pursuit of a partisan repeal and stop taking the health care system hostage just to please their donors. Congress should immediately pass, and the president should immediately sign, this bill to provide relief to the American people.
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