President Trump seems to be the only Republican still looking for an ObamaCare solution. According to a recent tweet, Trump has reached out to Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer and asked him if he’d like to do a deal.
“I called Chuck Schumer yesterday to see if the Dems want to do a great HealthCare Bill. ObamaCare is badly broken, big premiums. Who knows!” Trump’s Tweet said.
Schumer didn’t say no.
“The president wanted to make another run at repeal and replace and I told the president that's off the table. If he wants to work together to improve the existing health care system, we Democrats are open to his suggestions. A good place to start might be the Alexander-Murray negotiations that would stabilize the system and lower costs,” Schumer said.
Those negotiations are continuing. Sen. Lamar Alexander who heads the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has been working with the committee’s ranking member Washington Democrat Sen. Patty Murray. He said the Republicans are willing to continue cost sharing reduction (CSR) payments so they can afford to help the poorest among us afford health insurance. “The elements of that are continuing cost-sharing payments for two years and to give states meaningful flexibility in the types of policies they can write,” Alexander said.
Originally Alexander only wanted one year but the Democrats have prevailed in that negotiation.
Schumer said a couple of senators on the committee told him a deal is almost done. “They both inform me that they're on the verge of an agreement, a bipartisan health care agreement to stabilize markets and lower premiums,” he said.
The Democrats aren’t the only ones who want the cost sharing reduction settled. Individual insurers have been pleading that case for a few months and are now joined in that push by the Council for Affordable Health Coverage (CAHC). The CAHC is a coalition of insurance companies, pharmaceuticals and others in the health industry. It sent a letter to the leadership of both houses of Congress — Republicans and Democrats — and recommended a $15 billion phase out of the program over four-years.
In theory, the letter said, it will help reduce premiums and with that reduction the need for more federal money goes away. The group also wants the ObamaCare taxes done away with and, “While the policies presented here only represent a small number of options that should be considered to improve our health system, we believe these can help achieve the goals outlined by policy makers of lowering health costs and improving access in a consumer-centered, market-driven way.”
This week the president is expected — and since this is written on Monday he may have already done so — to sign an executive order to roll back some of the regulations President Obama put into place. Trump’s order will — he says — make it easier for individuals to group together to buy insurance through association health plans.
In that same order, Trump said he’s going to allow the purchase of health insurance across state lines. “I’ll probably be signing a very major executive order where people can go out across state lines, do a lot of things and buy their own healthcare, and that will probably be signed next week. It’s being finished now. It’s gonna cover a lot of territory and a lot of people — millions of people,” the president said last week.
And as just noted, the president said he’s going to work with Democrats to get something done. “What we’re going to do is we will do the block grant, we will do the healthcare, we will get a longer process going for the couple of people that did want to see more process, even though they’re a ‘yes’ vote. But very importantly, I am also during this period of a couple of months, I’m also going to meet with Democrats, and I will see if I can get a healthcare plan that’s even better,” the president added.
Source links: Insurance Business America, The Washington Post, The Hill — link 1, link 2, link 3