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.



AOC Launching New Indigent Representation Payment System In February

The Administrative Office of the Courts will modernize its disbursement system for indigent representation payments to attorneys, interpreters, expert witnesses, and investigators in February 2018. The new AOC Claims and Payment (ACAP) system will replace the Indigent Claim Entry (ICE) system and will allow users to more accurately and efficiently input and track claims for payment.The ... (click for more)

Consistent Cold Temps Boosting EPB Bottom Line

Consistent cold temps are boosting EPB's bottom line, Chief Financial Officer Greg Eaves said. The city utility had $1.1 million in revenues from kilowatt sales in December. It wound up with a positive margin of over $3 million for the month. Mr. Eaves said January "is looking real good as well with consistent cold temperatures." He said the fact that the cold weather ... (click for more)

Fleischmann Blames Senate Democrats For Government Shutdown

Congressman Chuck Fleischmann blamed Senate Democrats after the Senate’s failure to pass the Continuing Resolution (CR), putting a government shutdown into place. He said,  “I cannot fathom how Senate Democrats, knowing the severity of the issues in question, acted with such insensitivity using our children and our military as pawns, putting party over country. ... (click for more)

From Green Window Shutters To Forks And Spoons, Mount Vernon Restaurant Up For Auction

From the green wooden window shutters to the forks, knives and spoons, the landmark Mount Vernon Restaurant is up for auction. Marc Gravitt, of Gravitt Auction, said there will be an online auction starting Thursday morning and running through Saturday at noon. It will be handled as a "staggered close," he said. The first item will go first, then the second 30 seconds later, ... (click for more)

DACA Or Amnesty To Become The Majority?

As we have the political drama that we see in D.C. let’s be honest about what DACA is all about. We understand as the liberal policies of abortion, dependency on the government and an anti-American globalist / progressive agenda that many have come to realize these policies no longer represent their core beliefs and have left a certain party. Without an influx of new dependency ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

It is said that a 15-year-old in Minnesota, where just like the rest of the United States prayer in schools is prohibited, was tasked with writing an essay. He turned in his paper and, as it was returned with an A-plus, it is only fitting that something this clever should begin this week’s edition of The  Saturday  Funnies. Those who enjoy the Funnies understand that ... (click for more)