Sen. Lamar Alexander Abandons Obamacare Bailout Package

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Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) abandoned his Obamacare bailout package, citing lack of Democrat support for the measure.

Sen. Alexander wrote in a letter to lawmakers, “Democrats are not willing even to make modest temporary changes with which they agree. So now efforts to help Americans paying skyrocketing premiums will turn to the Trump Administration and the states.”

In his letter, Alexander praised President Donald Trump’s executive order expanding access to association health plans (AHPs), which would allow workers in similar industries and organizations to band together to create their own health insurance pools.

A study from Avalere Health in March revealed that 3.2 million Americans will leave Obamacare for AHPs, which offer more affordable options than the Affordable Care Act (ACA/Obamacare).

AHPs would be roughly $2,900 lower per year compared to the small-group market and $9,700 lower per year compared to the individual market.

In October, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) praised Trump’s executive order as “the biggest free-market reform of health care in a generation,” adding that it will allow Americans to purchase health insurance across state lines.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator Seema Verma claimed in a statement on Tuesday, “Americans who find themselves between jobs or simply can’t afford coverage because prices are too high will be helped by President Trump’s Healthcare for All Executive Order.”

Alexander, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), however, expressed less enthusiasm for the Trump administration’s expansion of short-term insurance plans. Short-term limited-duration plans offer more affordable options than Obamacare marketplace health insurance plans.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview that he, along with other conservatives, continue to work on a new block grant Obamacare repeal proposal before the 2018 midterms.

“We have obligation to fix what’s broken,” Santorum told Breitbart News.

Marie Fishpaw, Heritage’s director of Domestic Policy Studies, argued that they will continue to push to repeal Obamacare despite the reluctance from Republican leadership.

“This is outside-in and bottom-up,” Fishpaw told the Hill. Fishpaw said the group of conservatives will continue to repeal Obamacare “even in the face of continued leadership disinterest.”

Hogan Gidley, the White House deputy press secretary, said in a statement, “The White House fully supports the efforts of a broad coalition working to address the Obamacare disaster and increase affordable healthcare options for middle-class Americans.”

The former senator suggested the Obamacare repeal plan will “lower premiums” while simultaneously increasing the number of insured.

Santorum concluded in his interview with Breitbart News, “We think that there is a lack of leadership in the House and the Senate to come back on this, and now the public is saying that we want to do this.”

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