Kasich: ObamaCare insurers 'have to make a profit like anyone else'

Kasich: ObamaCare insurers 'have to make a profit like anyone else'
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Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) on Friday voiced support for more state flexibility under ObamaCare, while also advocating for the Trump administration to fund subsidy payments to insurers.

Kasich pushed back on the notion among some conservatives that the payments, known as cost-sharing reductions, are a bailout of insurers.

“The bottom line is these insurance companies have to make a profit like anyone else, and if they can’t, then they leave these counties,” Kasich said.

Members of the Senate Health Committee are seeking to negotiate a bipartisan bill to stabilize ObamaCare that could guarantee payments to insurers.

But Republicans say that in exchange for the funding that would help prevent a spike in premiums, Democrats should agree to expanding waivers that could allow states to opt out of certain requirements under ObamaCare

Kasich said he supports allowing states to be able to determine which benefits health plans will need to cover. Currently, ObamaCare requires plans to cover a range of services, including prescription drugs and mental health.

Democrats are wary of giving too much flexibility and want to protect what are known as the “guardrails” that prevent any changes under the waivers from leading to reductions in the number of people with coverage, or less affordable or comprehensive coverage.

"What I'm suggesting is you get choice," Kasich said, “but there has to be some sense of the core benefits.”

Letting states decide their own benefits was a key component of the failed House and Senate ObamaCare repeal bills. 

In an appearance earlier on Friday on Capitol Hill with a bipartisan group of House lawmakers calling for a measure to stabilize ObamaCare, Kasich rejected a new repeal bill from Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP and Dems bitterly divided by immigration We are running out of time to protect Dreamers US trade deficit rises on record imports from China MORE (R-S.C.) and Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyTax bill could fuel push for Medicare, Social Security cuts Collins to vote for GOP tax plan Overnight Tech: Lawmakers want answers on Uber breach | Justices divided in patent case | Tech makes plea for net neutrality on Cyber Monday MORE (R-La.).

The bill would replace ObamaCare with block grants to states instead of the law's current spending on subsidies and Medicaid expansion.

"I'm not for that," Kasich said, calling it an "eleventh hour" attempt at repeal.

Kasich spoke during a panel in Washington alongside Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat with whom he has released a joint ObamaCare stabilization proposal.

Peter Sullivan contributed