Gregory S. Sailer
According to the National Association of Health Underwriters, a market stability bill was released last week by Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA). It was formally introduced with 22 bipartisan co-sponsors—11 Republicans and 11 Democrats—and would temporarily fund the ACA’s cost-sharing reduction (CSR) program, provide for greater flexibility for Section 1332 waivers, as well as establish a new “copper-level” plan and provide for additional federal funding for enrollment outreach.
After looking over the draft document, the Alexander-Murray bill does not seem to affect any of the Affordable Care Act’s core elements – like patient protections, tax credits, or essential health benefits.
In summary format, here are the major provisions of the proposed market stability bill:
Restoring of CSR Payments – Intended to restore market stability and affordability
Maintaining the Core Protections of 1332 Waiver Provision – expands “pass-through” payments to states, allows states to propose value-based insurance designs, and adds language to protect vulnerable populations, those with serious health conditions, and low-income people.
Streamlining the 1332 State Waiver Process – Expedites states’ waiver applications, grants Governors the ability to approve state waiver applications, and changes budget assessment
Reinvesting in outreach and enrollment – includes increased funding for outreach, as well as reporting requirements
Expanding eligibility for catastrophic plans – maintains risk pools so those with serious medical needs are not priced out.
Information for this article was obtained from multiple sources, including the National Association of Health Underwriters, Wikipedia's one page summary of the Murray-Alexander Market Stability Bill and the Washington Post's draft copy of the Bill.
Greg Sailer is the President and Managing Consultant for Sailer Benefit Services, an Employee and Executive Benefit Firm in the Twin Cities.
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