Five governors to testify at hearing on bipartisan healthcare bill

Five governors to testify at hearing on bipartisan healthcare bill
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Five governors will testify in front of the Senate Health Committee next month on ways to fix ObamaCare. 

Govs. Charlie Baker (R-Mass.), Steve Bullock (D-Mont.), Bill Haslam (R-Tenn.), Gary Herbert (R-Utah) and John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) will testify at a hearing on Sept. 7. 

State insurance commissioners will testify Sept. 6. 

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“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," committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said in a statement Tuesday. 

Alexander said a bipartisan healthcare bill must give states "flexibility" in waiving out of some ObamaCare requirements while funding key subsidy payments to insurers known as cost-sharing reductions. 

Many insurers have requested large premium increases for 2018 because of the uncertainty surrounding the payments. The Trump administration has made them on a month-to-month basis, but insurers have asked for long-term certainty. 

Alexander said he hopes his committee can pass a bill by the end of September. 

But that may be too late for insurers to make any changes to premiums for 2018. 

The final deadline for insurers to sign contracts to participate in the ObamaCare exchanges next year is Sept. 27. Open enrollment begins Nov. 1.