Health Experts Seek 2-Party Insurance Market Fix
Policy-adviser group offers plan to stabilize insurance markets, as lawmakers consider bipartisan overhaul
A bipartisan group of health policy experts offered a proposal on 8-9-17 to stabilize the ACA’s fragile insurance markets, a blueprint intended to foster lawmakers working ‘across the aisle’.
The group, composed of prominent advisers to former presidents began holding monthly meetings in January find points of agreement on a possible package to address rising premiums and prevent insurers leaving the individual insurance market.
Leaders of the group said they are pitching it to lawmakers who chair both party Health Committee representatives collaborating to craft legislation. This effort seeks to find a balanced set of recommendations regarded as important to members of Congress who will ultimately make any changes.
The plan offers five primary recommendations:
1- It encourages lawmakers to formally authorize the ACA’s “cost-sharing reduction” payments, which help insurers subsidize costs for some low-income consumers.
2- It recommends Congress ensure funding for the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program, which is favored by members of both parties but has been floated as a vehicle to pass more contentious health reforms.
3- The authors also endorse two new ideas—expanding the use of health savings accounts and broadening the ACA’s state innovation waivers, to give states additional flexibility in administering their insurance markets.
4- Another approach sees a mechanism that will entice more people to sign up for health insurance. Critics of the ACA have long derided its requirement that most people enroll in coverage or pay a penalty, and the group recommends that some states be permitted to waive it in favor of different tools.
5- The White House is considering its options on health care to bolster the ACA’s insurance markets. Some lawmakers in both parties say the markets can’t be allowed to weaken further, but the critics argue that nothing should be done to bolster the law.
These considerations could boost bipartisan hearing consensus on the individual market planned for September.
The individual market—where people who don’t get insurance through work can buy coverage—is a current focus of lawmakers seeking a path forward following the recent failure of a new health care push. Some insurers have been pulling out of the market, citing their uncertain future.