Wednesday, August 23, 2017

How Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Health Committee Could Agree to Shore Up the Obamacare Markets

When Congress returns in September, Senate health committee chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and ranking member Patty Murray (D-WA) will attempt to find a way to at least temporarily shore up the Obamacare individual health insurance markets.

First, they will try to guarantee the low-income cost sharing reduction (CSR) subsidies for at least a year in order to give participating insurers the confidence to charge rates that will often be 15% to 20% lower than they would otherwise have been. A good step that Democrats will have no trouble supporting.

But for there to be any chance that Republicans would support a stabilization bill, they will also have to get some concessions. The most likely concession to draw Republicans onside would be one that granted the marketplace more flexibility and a resulting better risk pool so that health plans could come up with better prices.

Opponents of this flexibility will argue that there is no free lunch. Plans with fewer benefits will cost less because they offer less.

Actually, not quite.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Number of People in the Off-Exchange Individual Health Insurance Market Plunged 29% in the Last Year

Is the individual health insurance market stable?

With Trump threatening to make things worse in the individual health insurance market, was it stable even before he made his threats?

See my op-ed in the National Review.
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