Capitol Correspondence - 07.10.17

With Senate Republicans Scrambling to Pass Health Care Reform, Liberal Think Tank Proposes Alternative Plan

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If the Senate cannot come to an agreement on how to craft a health care proposal that will gain enough votes to pass, there may be no path forward that does not include working across the aisle with Democrats. A liberal-leaning think tank, the Center for American Progress (CAP) has put together legislative text that it thinks could bridge the gap. The proposal seeks to fix Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces by offering new subsidies for more costly patients, as well as lower taxes to encourage insurers to enter under-served markets.

Notably, some of the recommendations contained in CAP’s proposal are already included in the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), such as guaranteeing cost-sharing reductions and creating a reinsurance fund to provide states additional money for covering high-cost individuals. Where CAP’s proposal diverges from the current Senate health care bill is that it would not include tax cuts for wealthy individuals or deep cuts to Medicaid spending.

While some liberals have seized on the health care melee as an opportunity to advance single payer or universal healthcare, the CAP proposal attempts to put forth ideas that it sees as being feasible compromises to move forward on if the Senate ultimately has to abandon the BCRA due to lack of support among Republican lawmakers.