Federal health care proposals – learn more ahead of Congress returning from recess

Stethoscope-HealthCareWhile the health care debate has taken a step back from the national stage, there are still proposals being developed and discussed.  Some proposals coming out at the federal level are bipartisan, while others ride the party line.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of those proposals, and where to learn more. 

Cassidy-Graham (Repeal & Replace)

The Cassidy Graham proposal is essentially a repeal and replace attempt, put together by Republican Senators Bill Cassidy (Louisiana) and Lindsey Graham (South Carolina).  It radically restructures Medicaid funding to states, through major cuts.  It also appears to favor states that did not expand Medicaid, and harm those who did expand, like Connecticut.

Learn more: The last GOP health plan left standing, explained (Vox, Sarah Kliff, 8/1/2017)

What effect would this plan have on Connecticut?  The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analyzed the plan and how it would impact different states.  See this article in the CT Mirror for more on state-level impact: Obamacare replacement plan would hurt CT, report says (Ana Radelat, 8/24/17)

Rep. Conyers Single Payer Bill (HR 676)

Democratic Representative John Conyers (Michigan) has put forth a single-payer proposal – meaning that everyone in the country would be covered by one government insurer.  117 House Democrats have signed onto the bill, and the expectation is that Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont) will be putting forth a Senate version when Congress comes back from recess next week.

What Rep. John Conyers’s sweeping single-payer health care bill would actually do (Vox, Jeff Stein, 8/28/17)

Interested in taking a deeper dive into single payer?  Check out our “Single Payer” Series.

Problem Solvers Caucus

In a bi-partisan effort, Republican and Democratic members of the House have presented a package of five strategies aimed at stabilizing the individual market:

  1. Continuing cost sharing reduction payments that help reduce out of pocket costs for low income on-exchange members
  2. Creating a stability fund to help states lower premiums by giving insurers extra funding
  3. Exempting businesses with less than 500 employees from the employer mandate – currently businesses with more than 50 employees are required to provide coverage
  4. Repealing the medical device tax
  5. Allowing insurers to sell plans across state lines

Learn more: The new bipartisan House proposal to fix Obamacare, explained (Vox, Jeff Stein, 7/31/17)

Another opinion: Solving the Problem of Bipartisan Health Care Reform (Health Affairs Blog, Robert Pozen, 8/22/17)

Medicare Buy-In

Our own Connecticut Representatives, John Larson and Joe Courtney joined New York Rep. Brian Higgins in putting forth the Medicare Buy-In and Health Care Stabilization Act.  The proposal would allow adults ages 50 to 64 to buy into the Medicare program on the exchanges.  The Medicare Buy-In option would also be available to employers who provide coverage for their employees.

You can read more about this plan in Reps. Larson and Courtney’s own words: Larson, Courtney: Fix ACA by letting 50 to 64-year-olds join Medicare (CT Mirror Viewpoints, 8/22/17)

Medicaid Buy-In

Hawaii’s Democratic Senator Brain Schatz is preparing a bill that would allow for a Medicaid Buy-In on the state exchanges.  This plan targets uninsured people buying insurance on the state exchanges, and would allow people to use the existing subsidies to pay for premiums.  If someone makes too high of an income to qualify for Medicaid, they would pay a premium to be a part of the Medicaid program.

Learn more: Senator Schatz’s new health care idea could be the Democratic Party’s future (Vox, Sarah Kliff & Jeff Stein, 8/22/17)

Expecting new proposals

Next week, as Congress returns after their recess, even more proposals are expected.  As noted above, Senator Bernie Sanders is likely to introduce a single-payer bill in the Senate.

The Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor & Pensions) Committee is conducting hearings on stabilizing the health insurance market – so proposals are likely to emerge from that process.

A bipartisan plan from two governors – Colorado’s Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper and Ohio’s Republican Governor John Kasich – should be released soon, too.

As always, we will keep you in the loop!

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