Collins doubles funding ask for ObamaCare bill

Collins doubles funding ask for ObamaCare bill
© Greg Nash

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsWhite House weighs clawing back State, foreign aid funding The Hill's Morning Report: Dems have a majority in the Senate (this week) Overnight Defense: Pompeo creates 'action group' for Iran policy | Trump escalates intel feud | Report pegs military parade cost at M MORE (R-Maine) has doubled the amount of money she's requesting in her ObamaCare stabilization bill in exchange for her vote on the GOP's tax-reform plan. 

Collins, a key vote on tax reform, is pushing for the passage of two ObamaCare bills in an attempt to mitigate the effects of the tax bill's repeal of the individual insurance mandate. 

One of those bills — sponsored by her and Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonDem campaign chairman expresses confidence over path to Senate majority The Hill's Morning Report: Dems have a majority in the Senate (this week) Dems urge tech companies to remove 3D-gun blueprints MORE (D-Fla.) — would provide states with $10 billion over two years to establish high-risk pools or reinsurance programs to lower premiums. 

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That's more than double the $4.5 billion originally requested in her bill, which she introduced in September.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump stays out of Arizona's ugly and costly GOP fight Sen. Warner to introduce amendment limiting Trump’s ability to revoke security clearances The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Ky.) said he would support passage of both bills, which could be added to the end-of-year spending deal. 

"This plan will provide $5 billion annually for two years in seed money for states to establish invisible high-risk pools or traditional reinsurance programs," Collins said in a statement Friday. 

"We know from experiences in the states of Maine and Alaska that high-risk pools can help to lower premiums substantially — by an average of 20 percent," she said.

Collins had concerns that the tax bill's repeal of the individual mandate would increase insurance premiums.

She hopes the passage of her reinsurance bill, plus a bill authored by Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderGovernor's race grabs spotlight in Tennessee primaries A single courageous senator can derail the Trump administration GOP worries trade wars will last as Trump engages in temporary tiffs MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayGOP leader criticizes Republican senators for not showing up to work Senate Dems press Sessions for records on racial discrimination complaints Dem senators introduce resolution calling on Trump to stop attacking the press MORE (D-Wash.), would mitigate those increases.

It's not clear when Collins requested an increase in reinsurance funding.

However, experts have said reinsurance would need at least $10 billion per year to effectively mitigate the effects of repealing the mandate. 

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that repealing the mandate would increase premiums by about 10 percent. 

Collins voted in favor of the Senate GOP's tax plan early Saturday morning, saying she had "commitments" that the ObamaCare bills would be passed.