On Thursday, September 7, 2017 the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor and Pension held a hearing on “Stabilizing Premiums and Helping Individuals in the Individual Insurance Market for 2018: Governors.” The governors appearing before the panel were Republicans Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, Bill Haslam of Tennessee, and Gary Herbert of Utah, as well as Democrats John Hickenlooper of Colorado and Steve Bullock of Montana. Both Hickenlooper and Bullock — have signed on to a proposal that Hickenlooper crafted with Republican Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio.
What The Governors Said:
Cost-Sharing Reduction Subsidies: All five governors urged Congress to continue the payments to ensure stability in the marketplace.
Paying for High-Cost Patients (Reinsurance): Governors from both parties urged lawmakers to recreate a fund to help buffer insurers from the expense of covering customers with the highest medical expenses. Governors said they would like the federal government gets it started and they would ultimately take over such a program themselves — both the financing and the administration.
What Senate Republicans And Democrats Said:
At the beginning of the hearing, Republican Chairman Lamar Alexander summarized what reforms he believes are needed for market stabilization. He supported funding cost sharing subsidies for some period of time and would support restructuring PPACA through waivers or through allowing certain consumers to buy basic catastrophic coverage. Chairman Alexander floated the idea of allowing a less comprehensive "copper" plans to people over the age of 30.
Democrat Ranking Member Patty Murray supported funding for cost-sharing reductions, stability funding, and added support for enrollment and outreach for the open enrollment period.
News and Media
Dave Anderson, CEO of HealthNow New York, talks with Steve Inskeep about lawmakers' plans to hold bipartisan hearings on health insurance exchanges. NPR's Scott Horsley has details and analysis.
As part of a coordinated, systemwide Blues advocacy effort to ensure funding for Cost Sharing Reductions, President and CEO Dave Anderson spoke with NPR's All Things Considered.