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Capitol Correspondence - 03.12.18

Prospects Further Complicated for ACA Market Stabilization Bill

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Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray’s (D-WA) bipartisan bill to stabilize Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare) markets has run into some challenges. The two Senators had hoped to include their bill in the federal budget package which could potentially come up for a vote this week, as discussed in another article in this issue, but the bill’s prospects are being affected by requests from the White House.

According to a snippet from Politico Pro:

“The document indicates the administration will support congressional efforts to prop up the wobbly marketplaces, in exchange for significantly expanding short-term health plans and loosening other insurance regulations.

The document also makes several references to abortion language that will be problematic for Democrats. A potential stumbling block in passing any stabilization package is whether conservatives will insist on including language prohibiting the use of government dollars to pay for abortions.”

ANCOR continues to inform its members on this bill because once Congress is less preoccupied with the budget process, ACA market stabilization could attract more attention, competing for limited Congressional bandwidth with IDD priorities such as MFP renewal. Although right now that has become less likely given the information above, nonetheless there is a risk that insurance premiums will increase sharply this year as a result of market instabilities. Members of Congress could be wary of receiving the blame for premium hikes in an election year, so ANCOR will continue to monitor this situation.