The U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions will start deliberations on a bipartisan bill to address issues with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) aimed at shoring up government health exchanges and providing certainty that subsidy payments to insurance companies that offer health insurance plans on the exchanges will continue.
The committee’s first step is to hold hearings on healthcare policy this week. Today, Commissioner John Doak of the Oklahoma Department of Insurance, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler of Washington, Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller of Pennsylvania, and Director Lori K. Wing-Heier of the Alaska Division of Insurance will provide the perspectives of state insurance officials.
On Thursday, Governors Charlie Baker (R-Mass.), Steve Bullock (D-Mont.), Bill Haslam (R-Tenn.), Gary Herbert (R-Utah) and John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) will testify. Gov. Hickenlooper and Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) last week released a plan to address ways to stabilize state insurance markets. Their plan includes requiring the federal government to continue subsidy payments to insurance companies to lower deductibles and copays to low-income individuals, and the creation of a temporary $15 billion stability fund for states to use to reduce premiums and to help insurance companies offset losses so they will continue to provide health insurance plans through government exchanges.
“At these hearings, we will hear testimony from state insurance commissioners and governors—those closest to the problem—on steps Congress can take to help make insurance available at affordable prices. Any solution that Congress passes for a 2018 stabilization package will have to be small, bipartisan and balanced,” committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said in a statement Tuesday as reported by The Hill. He said the goal is to reach an agreement on new legislation by the end of the month.
On Tuesday, Sept. 12, the committee will hear testimony on providing states greater flexibility in managing health insurance and healthcare issues. Those scheduled to testify are: Michael Leavitt, former Utah Governor and Secretary of Health And Human Services; Allison Leigh O’Toole, Chief Executive Officer, MNsure; Tarren Bragdon, CEO, Foundation for Government Accountability; Bernard J. Tyson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan, Inc.; and Tammy Tomczyk, a Senior Principal And Consulting Actuary.
On Thursday, Sept. 14, scheduled to testify to provide the perspective of healthcare stakeholders are: Manny Sethi, MD, President of Healthy Tennessee
Orthopaedic Trauma Surgeon; Susan L. Turney MD, Chief Executive Officer, Marshfield Clinic Health System, Inc., Robert Ruiz-Moss, Vice President,
Individual Market Segment, Anthem Inc.; Christina Postolowski, Rocky Mountain Regional Director, Young Invincibles; and Raymond G. Farmer, Director
South Carolina Department of Insurance, NAIC Secretary-Treasurer.
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