Sometimes Republicans and Democrats can come together on some things. This particular time though, it was a little bit forced on the Republicans part but they can deal. A coalition of 40 Democrats and Republicans are coming together to come up with a plan to fix up some of Obamacare’s flaws.
They are ‘Problem Solvers’
The Problem Solvers caucus which is led by Tom Reed (R-NY) and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), is conducting an effort to stabilize the ACA. There are many others involved including Rep. Kurt Schrader and several other lawmakers from the New Democratic Coalition and GOP’s moderate Tuesday Group. Their plan is to focus on stabilizing the insurance market immediately and then pushing changes that received bipartisan acceptance.
The biggest proposal is funding for the ACA’s cost-sharing subsidies. Insurers rely on this to reduce out-of-pocket costs for the poorest Obamacare insured which is estimated to be $7 billion this year. As usual, Trump has threatened to cut these payments off calling them a “bailout” for insurance companies. Kellyanne Conway decided to once again open her mouth this weekend on the subject. She said that Trump will decide this week on whether or not he will cut the subsidies, which if he does, it will cause the markets to completely implode. The Problem Solvers are also working to change the employer mandate so that it only applies to companies with 500 or more employees. Currently, employers with at least 50 employees can be hit with a tax penalty if they don’t provide coverage to their employees.
The group also wants to create a federal stability fund which is where states can tap into these funds to reduce premiums and other costs for those with extremely expensive medical needs. So far, the dollar amount for this fund is unspecified. The proposal also calls for a scrap of the medical-device tax and seeking greater flexibility for state innovation.