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From our Expert Voices conversation on plans for health care reform after Trump's executive order:

Here's what the bipartisan Alexander-Murray bill would do to prevent large marketplace premium hikes on the eve of the 2018 mid-term election:

  • Ensure payments that reduce cost sharing for low-income enrollees for the next two years (cut by Trump's executive order)
  • Provide needed outreach support to help Americans sign up for coverage for the next two years (previously cut by the Trump administration)
  • Facilitate state waivers like Alaska's to provide reinsurance that lowers premiums

Yet, should this deal pass, it could be undone — and then some — by regulations pursuant to the order. Individual-market premiums could spike next fall if unregulated short-term plans could be sold alongside Marketplace plans. They would siphon off young and healthy enrollees.

Increasing premiums further, employers could drive their high-cost employees to the individual marketplace through loosely regulated health reimbursement arrangements. And employer risk-pooling could be frayed by unbounded association health plans that would separate low- from high-risk small employers.

Necessary as it is, the Senate bill cannot improve marketplace stability if the administration remains determined to undercut it.

The bottom line: Congress should block executive actions that raise premiums, especially for people with pre-existing conditions — in this bill or any other legislation.

Other voices in the conversation:

  • James Capretta, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and former associate director for health programs at the OMB: Alexander-Murray deal a flawed first attempt at bipartisanship
  • John McDonough, professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and former Senate adviser on health reform: Obamacare is dead. Long live the Affordable Care Act.
  • Tevi Troy, CEO of the American Health Policy Institute and former deputy secretary of HHS: Expanding HRAs would bolster individual market
  • Christopher Condeluci, principal at CC Law and Policy and former tax and benefits counsel to the Senate Finance Committee: Clearing the air on AHPs

Go deeper

Several states declare emergency over Colonial Pipeline shutdown

A sign warns consumers on the avaliability of gasoline at a RaceTrac gas station in Smyrna, Georgia, on May 11. The average national price of gasoline has risen to $2.985 a gallon, Bloomberg notes. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/AFP via Getty Images

Reports of fuel shortages across the U.S. emerged on Tuesday as the national average for gasoline prices soared to its highest level since 2014 amid a key fuel pipeline shut down, per Bloomberg.

What's happening: Operator Colonial Pipeline aims to have service restored by the week's end following last Friday's ransomware attack that shut down some 5,500 miles of pipeline from Texas to New Jersey. The governors of Florida, Georgia, Virginia and North Carolina declared states of emergency Tuesday due to shortage concerns.

Reports: More than 100 Republicans threaten to form 3rd party over Trump

Former President Trump addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, in February. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

More than 100 Republicans will sign a letter Thursday threatening to create a third party if the GOP doesn't "break" with former President Trump, Reuters first reported.

Why it matters: Per Axios' Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei, Trump's grip on the GOP has gotten stronger since the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. The Republican Party's "allegiance to Trump" as he continues to make false claims about his 2020 election loss has "dismayed" the group, according to Reuters.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

In photos: Dozens dead as Israel and Hamas intensify aerial bombardments

People gather at the site of a collapsed building in the aftermath of Israeli air strikes on Gaza City on May 11. Photo: Mahmud Hams / AFP) (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images

At least 35 Palestinians and five Israelis have been killed as fighting between Israel's military and Hamas entered a third day, per Reuters.

The big picture: The worst aerial exchanges of fire between Israel and Hamas since 2014 come after escalating violence in Jerusalem that injured hundreds of Palestinians and several Israeli police officers during protests over the planned evictions of Palestinian families from their homes.