Alexander, Corker Are Among Sponsors Of Bill To Stabilize Premiums And Access To Insurance

Thursday, October 19, 2017

A group of 24 senators - 12 Republicans and 12 Democrats led by Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) - on Thursday released short-term bipartisan legislation to stabilize premiums and access to insurance in individual health insurance markets.

Senators Alexander and Murray said: “We have reached an agreement on bipartisan legislation that will extend cost-sharing reduction payments during 2018 and 2019, protect consumers facing higher premiums this year, and give states meaningful flexibility to create greater choices among health insurance policies in the individual health insurance market.”

“The goal of this bipartisan legislation is to stabilize and then lower the cost of health insurance premiums and ensure that Americans are able to purchase health insurance in the individual health insurance market. This legislation is based upon witness testimony from four bipartisan hearings that the Senate health committee held last month.”

Senator Alexander on Thursday spoke on the Senate floor. He said, “Our agreement permanently amends the Affordable Care Act to give new flexibility for states to create insurance policies that have a larger variety and lower costs and it continues the cost-sharing reduction payments during 2018 and 2019.

“Cost-sharing reduction payments are subsidies that pay for copays and deductibles for low income Americans. Every Republican in the House of Representatives who voted to repeal and replace Obamacare this year, voted for a provision that continued the cost-sharing payments for two years.

“The president says there should be no bailout of insurance companies. I agree 100 percent. So does Senator Murray. We have a page and a half to make it clear that insurance companies cannot ‘double dip,’ so the benefits go to consumers not insurance companies.

“Some conservatives object to the idea of paying them at all, but I would ask what's conservative about unaffordable premiums? What's conservative about $194 billion of new federal debt? What's conservative about creating chaos so millions can't buy insurance? What's conservative about a four-lane highway that would be the chaos that leads to a single-payer solution for insurance in this country?

“The people still objecting are listening to the groups around Washington, D.C. I would suggest they listen to some other people. Listen to the waitress, listen to the songwriter, listen to the brick layer, listen to the small businesswoman. The people of America, there are 350,000 in Tennessee, who may be terrified by the prospect of increasing premiums or even the prospect of not being able to buy insurance at all.”

“We haven't moved an inch toward our objectives in the last seven years of giving states more flexibility in creating insurance policies in the individual market. This agreement does.

“We have a solution here. Senator Murray and I – a total of 24 United States Senators – are offering it today.”

In addition to Senators Alexander and Murray, the bill was cosponsored by Republican Senators Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), and Democratic Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.)

The bill language is here. A section-by-section summary is here.



Latest Bradley County Arrest Report

Click  here  for the latest Bradley County arrest report. (click for more)

Get Emailed Headlines From Chattanoogan.com; Like Us On Facebook, Twitter For Instant News

We send out headlines each week day of the latest Chattanooga news.  Our news headlines have links that take you to the stories with a click. We also send out special emails if there is a highly significant local news story breaking so you will be aware of it quickly. To be added to the email headline list, just email us at news@chattanoogan.com. In addition, ... (click for more)

John Porter Franklin, Sr.: A Community Gem

In 2016, It was   my honor to have been chosen to recognize African American History Month at the February HCDE board meeting.   Throughout my life, I’ve been taught and exposed to African American history both nationally and locally. In reflecting on what to share, I thought about all that was going on in our community and more importantly in our educational community ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: What’s 28% Of 2,500?

There is a strong likelihood, this based on new data obtained from the Hamilton County Department of Education, that only 700 of this year’s approximately 2,500 high school graduates can tell you what 28 percent of 2,500 is. The 2018 test scores, used to determine what percentage of students in public schools are “scoring on track,” averaged 28.4 percent in our 32 middle and high ... (click for more)

Chris Douglas Wins Waterfront Triathlon Sunday

More than a thousand trim and fit men and women gathered at Ross’s Landing Sunday morning for the annual Waterfront Triathlon with McKenzie’s Kirsten Sass the only one of four defending champs to successfully defend her title. There were two races held on Sunday, including a sprint event that included a 400-meter swim, a 12-mile bike ride and a 5K run.   The longer intermediate ... (click for more)

UT Athletics Department To Host Tribute To John Ward On Wednesday

  The University of Tennessee Athletics Department and The Vol Network are hosting a Tribute to "The Voice" event honoring John Ward on Wednesday, June 27, starting at 6 p.m. ET at Thompson-Boling Arena. The legendary broadcasting and marketing icon passed away this week following a lengthy illness. He was 88. Wednesday's event will take on a celebratory ... (click for more)