While Congress is away on vacation, an odd couple of sorts has just introduced a new plan to fix Obamacare.
The Johns, Governors Hickenlooper (D-Colorado) and Kasich (R-Ohio) have released their long-touted health care compromise.
"Is this going to fix all that's broken with our healthcare system? No. Clearly that's not going to happen, but this is taking a big bite out of a very large problem," said Hickenlooper.
The compromise, signed by eight governors, includes sections called:
- Immediate federal action to stabilize markets
- Responsible reforms that preserve coverage gains and control costs
- An active federal/state partnership
The bullet points of the deal include some proposals already nixed by Republicans and the President.
Keep the individual mandate (for now)
This is the penalty for not having health insurance. The governors' plan calls for this to remain until a credible replacement can be figured out.
"The current mandate is unpopular, but for the time being it is perhaps the most important incentive for healthy people to enroll in coverage," the governors' wrote.
Tax exemption for insurers to provide coverage in underserved counties
This idea also calls for residents in underserved counties (where there is only one option) to be temporarily eligible for the Federal Employee Benefit Program, the same health benefits that federal employees can use.
Create a stability fund to reduce premiums and limit losses
A fund that states can use for reinsurance programs to reduce premiums and limit losses for providing coverage.
Commit to a federal cost sharing reduction program through at least 2019
This lowers the amount someone has to pay for deductible and co-pays.
After multiple attempts to repeal Obamacare failed in July, President Trump tweeted against keeping this in place: "If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!"
If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2017
"Bottom line is this is but a first step, but it's a significant step in that it shows that we can make compromises across party lines, said Hickenlooper.
Kind of. Of the eight governors to sign onto the compromise, five are Democrats:
- Hickenlooper (Colorado)
- Tom Wolf (Pennsylvania)
- Terry McAuliffe (Virginia)
- John Bel Edwards (Louisiana)
- Steve Bullock (Montana)
Two of the governors are Republican:
- Kasich (Ohio)
- Brian Sandoval (Nevada)
One is a Republican turned independent:
- Bill Welker (Alaska)
Though, Hickenlooper said he spoke with about 15 governors and their staff and received support from most.
"Many of the principles in here they are supportive of," said Hickenlooper. "They're perhaps worried, I won't say that they are, but perhaps that they're worried that too many people signing onto the letter is going to, in some way, push the Senate or the Trump administration more into a defensive posture."
Who knew too much support was bad?
One week from today, Hickenlooper will travel to Washington, D.C. to pitch this plan to Congress in person.
"We're not trying to start a revolution here. These are very cautious, pragmatic efforts to maintain the stability of the individual market which will almost certainly reduce premiums, which will almost certainly expand coverage. Pretty much every elected official I've talked to holds that as their long-term goal; more coverage, higher quality, less cost," said Hickenlooper.
Next reached out to all nine members of Colorado's Congressional delegation to find out if this health care fix was shown to them ahead of Thursday's release. We only heard back from three offices: Bennet, Coffman and Polis; none had been given the plan ahead of time.
Oh, and by the way, if Hickenlooper - who is listed second behind Kasich on the plan - does want to run for President, he should sign letters to Congress ahead of everyone else.