Senator Lamar Alexander’s (R-TN) hearings on stabilizing the Obamacare marketplace could also lead to discussions on new legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Sen. Rick Santorum revealed in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News that he continues to work with Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) on legislation to block grant Obamacare to the states. The plan would allow states to design free market alternatives to the Affordable Care Act.
Former Obama Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) Administrator Andy Slavitt, who helped implement the Affordable Care Act, said that the Graham-Cassidy bill remains the most significant opportunity to repeal Obamacare.
Slavitt also suggested that the Graham-Cassidy bill “flies in the face of bipartisan efforts that Alexander-Murray are beginning or have been started in the House. If GCH appears easier than tax reform or helpful to it, it could make the “September agenda.”
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, hopes that the stabilization package will serve as a one-year, temporary measure to lower premiums and other healthcare costs while the Senate tries to coalesce around an Obamacare repeal package.
Sen. Alexander said in a statement to Breitbart News, “At these hearings, we will hear testimony from state insurance commissioners and governors—those closest to the problem—on steps Congress can take to help make insurance available at affordable prices. Any solution that Congress passes for a 2018 stabilization package will have to be small, bipartisan and balanced. It should give states more flexibility in approving insurance policies by improving section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act as well as fund the cost-sharing reduction payments to help stabilize premiums for 2018.”
States can apply for these 1332 waivers to amend Obamacare insurance regulations such as essential health benefits that require insurers to cover a wide range of services from hospitalization to oral and vision care. Expanding state waivers could allow states to lower premiums and deductibles in conservative states. Iowa submitted a 1332 waiver to reduce health care costs and stabilize their individual health insurance market.
Alexander’s hearings could discuss the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare bill, which Slavitt contends could render Alexander’s stabilization package moot by repealing and replacing Obamacare.
Sen. Graham argued that Alexander’s health care hearings could also contain discussion about the Graham-Cassidy bill. Graham said, “Lamar Alexander is going to allow hearing on our bill if we can put it together. There will be a tremendous amount of pressure on Republican leadership to take this up. I think Mitch will.”