Health industry pressures Congress to stabilize individual market

Health industry pressures Congress to stabilize individual market
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The Council for Affordable Health Coverage (CAHC) is urging Congress to take several bipartisan steps to help stabilize the individual insurance markets.

In a letter to Democratic and Republican leaders in both chambers, the coalition of drugmakers, insurers and others in the health sector is seeking a federal reinsurance program or a grant program to provide money for state-led reinsurance programs.

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Reinsurance programs help cover the costs of sicker customers.

The letter comes a week after Republicans abandoned their effort to repeal ObamaCare for the time being.

For 2018 CAHC recommends $15 billion phased down over four years, but estimates the federal cost for state-based risk reduction programs would actually be much less — about $4 billion. That’s because, CAHC wrote, premiums would be reduced, and that means the amount of money the federal government pays to help people better afford their premiums would decrease.

The council is also seeking the repeal of ObamaCare taxes on health care and insurance providers, reforms to the state-innovation waiver process and as much as $4 billion in grants for reinsurance programs under state-innovations waivers, among other measures.

“Major modifications are needed to the ACA to address the ongoing losses in coverage and access, and increase in premiums and cost sharing,” the council wrote in the letter sent Monday afternoon.

“While the policies presented here only represent a small number of options that should be considered to improve our health system, we believe these can help achieve the goals outlined by policy makers of lowering health costs and improving access in a consumer-centered, market-driven way.”

The council is composed of members throughout the health care sphere, such as those representing pharmaceutical manufacturers, insurers, pharmacy benefit managers, patient groups, small and large employers, and others.