Can this really be happening? A coalition of about 40 House Republicans and Democrats plan to release a whole slate of Obamacare fixes that they hope will gain traction and be embraced. Following the implosion of the Senate’s repeal law, these House leaders got together and formed what is being called “The Problem Solvers Caucus,” led by Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.). These senators are leading the effort to stabilize the ACA markets. They are joined by other centrist members that include Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) and lawmakers from the New Democrat Coalition plus the GOP’s moderate Tuesday Group as well.
Their plan is to stabilize the insurance market first and then push for Obamacare changes that have received bipartisan backing in the past. The proposal the carries the most weight is funding for Obamacare’s cost-sharing subsidies. The insurance companies rely on these payments, which will be $7 billion this year, to reduce the out-of-pocket costs for those who are the poorest Obamacare customers.
Trump is not a fan of the payments. He has repeatedly threatened to cut them off, calling them a “bailout” for insurance companies. Kelly Anne Conway, White House counselor, said that the president would decide “this week” whether to cut the subsidies. If he does, the markets could implode.
The “Problem Solvers Caucus” also wants to change the Obamacare employer mandate so that it would only apply to companies with more than 500 workers. As of now, a company with at least 50 employees can be hit with a tax penalty if they don’t provide coverage to their employees. The caucus also wants to provide a stability fund that states could tap into to reduce premiums and other costs for people with high medical needs.
And finally, the bipartisan group is wanting greater flexibility for state innovation. They want additional guidance on how states can take full advantage of waivers from coverage rules.
Their agenda comes after months of private meetings between members that lean toward the center. They were preparing in case the GOP’s effort failed. When it collapsed, they were ready to “solve the problem.”
Do you think this has a chance of working? Can you believe people are crossing the aisle? What do you think Trump is going to do with this?