Next Steps In the Healthcare Battle.
In the recent news rollercoaster ride, we heard that Republicans were unable to pass bills addressing ACA ” repeal and replace”, “skinny repeal and replace”, “repeal only”, “skinny repeal” or any variation thereof. So now what?
A Washington Post article today outlines two Republican options – withhold cost-sharing payments to insurers, thereby further destabilizing the health insurance market place and cause already expensive premiums to skyrocket even higher, or work in a bipartisan fashion to guarantee the health insurance subsidies and stabilize the individual insurance marketplace. The Chicago Tribune , in a rather partisan editorial, forecast a 43% hike in rates for Illinois in the current climate of uncertainty and confusion. Donald Trump signaled his view (via tweets of course) that payments should be withheld and the ACA should “implode”.
There are a few signs of hope that this Congress may ultimately act in a responsible manner. In the Senate, Republican Lamar Alexander has called for bipartisan legislation to extend federal payments to insurers for at least a year. The House of Representatives has also formed a Problem Solvers Caucus to look at bipartisan solutions to problems such as health care. In the meantime, a coalition of 16 state attorneys general is challenging in the ability of the White House and Congress to withhold the healthcare subsidies. To ultimately improve the ACA, more must be done than simply shore up struggling insurance marketplaces, but that is at least a place to start.
The time for solutions is growing short so we must keep up the pressure on Congress to form responsible and bipartisan solutions to our current healthcare crisis.