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Bipartisan Group Reveals Proposals for Stabilizing the Healthcare Market

Laura Joszt
After Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) returned to Congress last week after surgery and a brain tumor diagnosis, he called on his fellow senators to put aside partisan differences and work together on healthcare reform. In the House of Representatives, a bipartisan group is trying to do just that.
After Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) returned to Congress last week after surgery and a brain tumor diagnosis, he called on his fellow senators to put aside partisan differences and work together on healthcare reform. In the House of Representatives, a bipartisan group is trying to do just that.

The 43-member Problem Solvers Caucus includes both Repubilcans and Democrats and is co-chaired by Representatives Tom Reed (R-New York) and Josh Gottheimer (D-New Jersey). On Monday, the caucus released the details of a bipartisan proposal to stabilize healthcare in the United States.

The caucus explained that the members understand the individual market needs restructuring and that there is still time to make changes to affect plans offered for 2018.

“The last great hope for this country is that Republicans and Democrats prove they can work together,” Reed said in a statement. “We’ve locked arms to continue the fight for the American people, their families and their healthcare. Today, we are proud to deliver a set of bipartisan solutions to move health coverage forward so that our fellow Americans can also move ahead with restored hope in their own future and in the ability of Congress to resolve critical issues.”

The proposal includes 5 possible solutions for stabilizing the individual market:
  1. Bring cost-sharing reduction payments under Congressional oversight and ensure they are funded
  2. Create a stability fund for states to use to reduce premiums and limit losses for insurers
  3. Adjust the employer mandate by raising the threshold on the requirement for employers to provide insurance to business of 500 employees or more
  4. Repeal the medical device tax, since the costs of the tax are passed on to consumers
  5. Provide changes and clear guidance for states that want to innovate on the exchange or enter into regional compacts to improve coverage and increase options
 

“Our healthcare system needs reform and I've been committed to working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find market-based solutions that would result in increased coverage and lower costs,” said Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-Florida), the senior vice chairman of the caucus.

Gottheimer added that the healthcare discussion has been a partisan battleground for too long, and that bipartisan cooperation is not only possible, but necessary. In his home state, New Jersey, premiums are increasing by 25%, and he believes that bipartisan efforts can help lower premiums.

“This plan will help small businesses and families, especially those with preexisting conditions, by making permanent cost sharing reductions while protecting Medicaid for seniors and those struggling with substance abuse disorders,” Gottheimer said.

 
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