Ten House Democrats propose plan to fix ObamaCare

Ten House Democrats propose plan to fix ObamaCare
© Francis Rivera

Ten House Democrats are proposing a plan to stabilize the ObamaCare markets and reduce premiums. 

The plan, released Wednesday by the New Democrat Coalition's Affordable and Accessible Health Care Task Force, comes as Republicans pressure Democrats to come up with their own plan to "fix" the Affordable Care Act.

"Although we’ve made all of this progress, we as Members of Congress have to acknowledge that too many Americans still struggle with costs, especially people in the individual market," said Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), co-chair of the task force. 

"We are proposing real, concrete solutions that will stabilize and improve the individual market, making Obamacare work better for everyone, and getting us closer to universal coverage for all Americans."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement the proposal has "some promising ideas" but did not appear to fully endorse it. 

"The Democratic Members unveiling their proposals today have assembled some promising ideas to put Solutions Over Politics to strengthen the ACA and continue to lower costs for seniors and hard-working families," she said. 

"Instead of devastating millions of families across America with Trumpcare, Republicans should work constructively with Democrats to enact improvements and updates that help every family secure affordable quality health care. The GOP needs to stop the sabotage, give up repeal, and start putting solutions over politics for the good of the American people."

The Solutions over Politics plan would: 

  • Create an annual $15 billion reinsurance fund. ObamaCare had a reinsurance program for three years from 2014 to 2016 to provide payments to insurers that enroll higher-cost, sicker individuals. 
  • Continue ObamaCare's insurer payments, which reimburse them for giving discounts to low-income patients. Insurers have blamed the uncertainty over whether these payments will continue as a reason for their proposed double digit rate increases in 2018. 
  • Have "robust marketing strategies" to ensure that more people enroll during open enrollment periods.
  • Allow a buy-in option for Medicare for people nearing retirement age.
  • Expand tax credits by age, geography and income to help people buy insurance. Currently, about 84 percent of ObamaCare participants get a subsidy.
  • Expand the availability of catastrophic health plans that include essential health benefits and coverage for primary care for younger enrollees. These plans, meant to protect people from worst-scenarios, tend to have low monthly premiums and high deductibles.