Collins doubles funding ask for ObamaCare bill

Collins doubles funding ask for ObamaCare bill
© Greg Nash

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — VA reform bill heads to Trump's desk Senate panel to consider ban on prescription drug 'gag clauses' Pressure rising on GOP after Trump–DOJ fight’s latest turn 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 NelsonPoll: 8 in 10 people in key states concerned about driverless cars Ted Cruz and Bill Nelson give NASA a reality check on privatizing International Space Station Overnight Defense: Senate confirms Haspel as CIA chief | Trump offers Kim 'protections' if he gives up nukes | Dem amendments target Trump military parade 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 McConnellSenators introduce bill to overhaul sexual harassment policy The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Republicans see some daylight in midterm polling Exclusive: Bannon says Rosenstein could be fired 'very shortly' 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 AlexanderOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — VA reform bill heads to Trump's desk Senate panel to consider ban on prescription drug 'gag clauses' Senate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Trump official won't OK lifetime limits on Medicaid Dems warn against changes to federal family planning program Overnight Health Care: Drug company under scrutiny for Michael Cohen payments | New Ebola outbreak | FDA addresses EpiPen shortage 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.