Hickenlooper-Kasich health care proposal calls for retaining individual mandate, funding CSRs

Cheryl Sanders
September 1, 2017

Kasich did not support Republican plans to repeal and replace Obamacare, particularly because he was concerned about plans to phase out the Medicaid expansion, in which OH participates.

John Hickenlooper and Republican Gov. John Kasich of OH on Thursday morning released their awaited bipartisan plan on how to improve the affordability of health insurance and stabilize the market.

A Democratic governor and a Republican governor wrote a letter together urging Congress to take action to stabilize ObamaCare as more insurance companies pull out of the healthcare exchanges. "The current state of our individual market is unsustainable and we can all agree this is a problem that needs to be fixed".

Though this rule is unpopular, they concluded that it is "for the time being. perhaps the most important incentive for healthy people to enroll in coverage".

Notably, what the bipartisan letter does not call for is repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which Republicans have been championing for nearly eight years.

The letter also states a need for competition in rural counties underserved by insurance providers.

To entice insurers to cover these areas, Kasich and Hickenlooper's plan proposes to give them an exemption from the sales tax they are normally required to pay on premiums for health policies sold on the marketplace, under the Affordable Care Act.

Numerous governors' proposals are ideas that have been floated by policy experts and officials, such as funding the 2010 health care law's cost-sharing reduction payments, strengthening federal risk sharing programs such as risk adjustment and reinsurance and creating a stability fund.

Create a fund to help states address rising premiums: The governors said they want Congress to create a $15 billion a year stability fund that would allow states to create programs to bring down premiums for people in the exchange markets.

The letter asks Congress "to put to rest an uncertainty about the future of CSR payments" by committing federal funding to them through 2019, and says that since CSR costs are already included in the budget, appropriating them wouldn't have any adverse consequences to the budget's bottom line.

Despite these headwinds, states continue to try to stabilize the individual market and have developed innovative solutions to preserve coverage while making insurance more affordable. "Is this going to fix all that's broken in our system? No".

At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Hickenlooper said there is no ideal solution, but he hopes their proposal will pave the way for compromise in Congress. They are Republican Brian Sandoval of Nevada, independent Bill Walker of Alaska, and Democrats John Bel Edwards of Louisiana, Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, Terry McAuliffe of Virginia and Steve Bullock of Montana.

"In many cases, Governor Kasich's staff and my staff had to put aside personal preferences to tackle this issue", said Hickenlooper. The two governors hope Congress will adopt their proposals.

Other reports by iNewsToday