If they really want to stabilize the ACA markets...
In a politics-free world, it wouldn't be that hard to help the struggling ACA markets. Health care experts on the left and right pretty much agree on the policies it would take. It's a lot harder to get the right political mix to satisfy Republicans and Democrats.
Hard enough that even though Alexander and Murray say they're going to work on a package in September to stabilize the markets as the next step after the repeal debate, don't assume that they can get the easy stuff across the finish line.
The basics: Here's what conservative and liberal health care experts say it would take to prevent more rate hikes and more insurer withdrawals:
- Funding for the cost-sharing reduction subsidies for low-income people
- Reinsurance money for states to help insurers with a lot of expensive patients
The problem: That's the main list, but politically, it would take more than that — because Republicans need to get something out of it too. And that's why Alexander, the chairman of the Senate HELP Committee, also wants to expand state waivers, which might include relaxing the ACA's essential health benefits. So yes, get ready for that fight all over again. More here.
CSR update: President Trump didn't announce whether he'll cut off the CSR payments, but Alexander said he asked Trump to keep making them for two more months to give him and Murray time to work out a package.
Meantime, a federal appeals court ruled that 15 states can intervene in a congressional lawsuit over the payments — meaning that the Democratic attorneys general could continue fighting to restore the payments if the Trump administration drops its appeal, as legal expert Nicholas Bagley explains. But Trump could still stop the payments on his own.