Alexander Says Bipartisan Bill Will Help Stabilize Individual Health Insurance Market, Then Lower Premiums

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander announced on Tuesday he and Senator Patty Murray (R-Wa.) have reached a short-term deal to offer bipartisan legislation to stabilize the individual health insurance market and begin to lower the costs of premiums, so all Americans have access to health insurance.

“Our legislation is based on the four bipartisan hearings and other meetings that our committee held last month and engaged nearly 60 senators,” Senator Alexander said.

“According to witnesses at our hearings and according to the Congressional Budget Office, without these cost-sharing reduction payments, premiums will rise, the debt will increase by nearly $194 billion over ten years, and up to 16 million Americans may find themselves living in counties where no company sells insurance in the individual market.

“Witnesses also testified that one way to lower costs for consumers is to give states more flexibility than the Affordable Care Act now allows to design health insurance plans give consumers more choices. We have purposely limited our proposal to these two things -- first, two years of temporary cost-sharing payments, and, second, amendments that would give states meaningful flexibility in using section 1332 innovation waiver that is already a part of the Affordable Care Act.

“Only about six percent of Americans get their insurance in the individual market. It’s about 18 million people, but every single one of them finds their health insurance important, and every single one of them is terrified by the skyrocketing premiums and possibility that they may not able to buy insurance at all if we don't act. The best course is to take this limited bipartisan first step that to avoid the chaos that could occur during 2018 and 2019 if premiums continue to skyrocket and millions of Americans find themselves without a way to purchase health insurance.

“Imagine yourself, a 45-year-old songwriter in Tennessee who loses her job, has three kids, and goes out into the individual market and finds out she can't buy health insurance because no company is offering it. If we do not act, this is the kind of consequence we are talking about.

“Senator Murray and I hope that we can present this legislation to Senator McConnell and Senator Schumer, with the support of a significant number of senators. We hope that it will pass, the House of Representatives will agree to it, and the president will sign it. I have had encouraging discussions with President Trump, who called me on two different occasions encouraging me to work with Senator Murray to come to a bipartisan agreement. I'm grateful to him for that encouragement and I'm grateful to her."

Alexander’s full remarks on the Senate floor are available here.



Dale’s Heating & Air Receives 2018 President’s Award From Carrier

Dale’s Heating & Air was named a recipient of the 2018 President’s Award from Carrier. The award provides recognition for dealers in the heating, ventilating and air-conditioning industry. Dealers were honored at a ceremony held in Orlando, Fl.  One of Carrier’s highest honors for its dealers, the President’s Award, is given to Carrier Factory Authorized Dealers who ... (click for more)

Nominations Open For 2018 International Business Awards

The International Business Council (IBC) of the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce announces the second annual IBC International Business Awards. These awards showcase the positive contributions international businesses make to the greater Chattanooga region. Any Chattanooga area businesses engaged in international trade (either products or services, importing or exporting) are ... (click for more)

Man Who Killed 4 At Waffle House Is In Custody

Travis Reinking, 29, the suspect in the shooting at a Waffle House near Nashville on Sunday, has been taken into custody, according to police. Reinking, who killed four people and injured two others at a Waffle House near Nashville on Sunday morning was on the loose Monday morning and had been added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's ‘Top 10 Most Wanted’ list. ... (click for more)

Pet Raccoon That Was Destroyed Did Not Have Rabies

A pet raccoon that was destroyed in order to test for rabies after biting a neighbor child did not have rabies, Chattanooga attorney Chris Jones. The family has been advised it can pick up the remains of Boomer at the Chattanooga Hamilton County Health Department. Attorney Jones, who specializes in wildlife cases, earlier argued there was no valid reason for health ... (click for more)

Set Up A Council On Love, Not A Council On Hate - And Response

In Mayor Berke's April 19 version of the Berke Bulletin, he announced plans to establish a Council on Hate and indicated a focus on tolerance. I beg of him to reconsider that plan. One problem in Chattanooga and in other places in America is that there are some people who have already established an informal version of a Council on Hate. I suggest that a more productive plan ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Corker And ‘The Code’

Of all the vows, pledges, and bonds born unto the human race, nothing overrides “The Code.” It is an unwritten but deeply important knowledge that men should abide with equal respect, fierce loyalty, and chivalrous understanding of one another. For example, The Code dictates you must not and can never date a good friend’s ex-girlfriend, or ex-wife. Rather, you respect your friend ... (click for more)