Greg Gianforte Montana Politics Steve Daines US Politics

Healthcare Fix will Cut Deficit – Sen. Daines & Rep. Gianforte Missing from Debate

Solutions are what Montanans want from their congressional delegation. Not politics. Not obfuscation or columny. Montanans have very sensitive BS meters and demand results.

Some Montanans who purchase health insurance through the federal marketplace will be paying more after President Donald Trump decided to stop cost-sharing reduction payments that help low-income Americans get coverage. via the Flathead Beacon

This very troubling attempt by the Trump administration to sabotage the health insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act has been met with shock and dismay. After attempts to repeal the ACA failed Trump used an executive order to gut a key provision, the cost-sharing reduction(CSR) payments. These payments stabilized the often volatile insurance market.

Trump’s attempt at destabilization was quickly admitted for what it was, sabotage.

Steve Bannon Says President Cut Off Obamacare Payments To Destroy Health Law

In response, a bipartisan group of 13 Republicans and 13 Democrats have joined together to fix Trump’s attempts at sabotage. The Alexander-Murray Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act of 2017 was introduced by Republican Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington.

What is the Alexander-Murray fix?

From the official Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate:

The Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act of 2017 would make several changes to the state innovation waiver process established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), appropriate money for cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) through 2019, require many insurers to pay rebates to individuals and the federal government related to premiums in the nongroup health insurance market for 2018, allow anyone in the nongroup market to purchase a catastrophic plan, and require some existing funding for health insurance marketplace operations to be used specifically for outreach and enrollment activities for 2018 and 2019.

On net, CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate that implementing the legislation would reduce the deficit by $3.8 billion over the 2018-2027 period relative to CBO’s baseline.

Senator Jon Tester is demanding the Trump Administration reverse course and continue the payments, which help lower health insurance rates.

“This decision will spike health insurance costs that are already way too high. This deliberate sabotage forces Montanans to spend even more of their money on health care, draining their already strained bank accounts. 

Washington needs to knock it off and start working together to lower the cost of health care.”

Two voices that have not chimed in yet are the Right Now Technologies representatives, Sen. Daines and Rep. Gianforte. You would expect them to be all on board for an overhaul of the Affordable Care Act as they have been using it as a political football for years to demonize the previous president as well threatening to repeal it at every turn.

Wouldn’t a bipartisan fix make sense for these two? Could they not come to the negotiating table as the expert businessmen they claim to be and compromise for the good of their constituents. I understand holding the party line on many issues, but Montanan’s healthcare is not a political football, it is life and death serious.

Read more about the Alexander-Murray bill here: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

12 Republican co-sponsors

  • Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
  • Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
  • Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)
  • Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA)
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
  • Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD)
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
  • Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
  • Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)
  • Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)
  • Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA)

It’s hard to keep track of what is exactly going on at all anymore. With our government, with our elections, with our climate. I will continue to try and parse information as I find, as it comes out and as it is overshadowed by distractions and news stories that may be receiving too much coverage.

I assume this story will continue to be overshadowed as the first indictments in the Russia investigation are set to be released today.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.


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  • You really going to lobby for Alexander-Murray?

    As bad as it is — and with ObamaCare’s transition to TrumpCare, a death by a thousand cuts via executive actions and bad legislation like this — Alexander-Murray will only hinder attempts at real health care reform (like single payer), and continue the downward spiral of health care in America.

    Naked Capitalism puts the Alexander-Murray’s provision for Copper Plans into perspective:

    For people who have chosen to pay the ObamaCare penalty, I can see why Copper plans would be attractive. After all, why pay the IRS and get nothing, when you can pay for a Copper plan, and get something, maybe? But the Alexander-Murray effort to stabilize the marketplace looks like a piece of accounting chicanery, to me. Considered as a mechanism of delivering health care, Copper plans fall short.

    Oh, and Alexander-Murray looks like a lovely case of conservatives and liberals joining together to support a neoliberal solution and kick the left, which is pushing for single payer. Vox, on the last Copper plan effort in 2014:

    “What’s interesting about the [2014] Expanded Consumer Choice Act is that seven Democrats are joining major business lobbies and the insurers to push Obamacare in a direction Republicans might well like. A longtime conservative complaint with Obamacare is that prices are too high because the government is demanding insurers offer overly lavish insurance. This would make that insurance a bit less lavish.”

    Why shouldn’t Schumer get together with Trump to kick the #MedicareForAll can down the road for another decade or so? What could go wrong?

    Yep, keep kicking that can down the road. The neoliberal approach to health care reform, as deftly practiced by Max Baucus during the ACA workup. Alexander-Murray fits right in that mold.

    Oh, and if you’d prefer a more mainstream view, here’s the Kaiser Health News take on Copper Plans:

    If you offer it, will they come? Insurers and some U.S. senators have proposed offering cheaper, skimpier “copper” plans on the health insurance marketplaces to encourage uninsured stragglers to buy. But consumer advocates and some policy experts say that focusing on reducing costs on the front end exposes consumers to unacceptably high out-of-pocket costs if they get sick. The trade-off, they say, may not be worth it.

    “It’s a false promise of affordability,” says Sabrina Corlette, project director at Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms. “If you ever have to use the plan, you won’t be able to afford it.”

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