Senate healthcare bill includes key provision for Alaska
The home state of a key undecided senator could receive hundreds of millions of dollars under an updated Senate GOP bill to replace ObamaCare.
Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has withheld her support for the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act, citing concerns over Medicaid cuts, Planned Parenthood funding and insurance affordability.
But a new provision could funnel more than $1 billion to her state over the next decade to help reduce the cost of insurance premiums.
Under a formula in the revised Senate bill, only Alaska would qualify for additional money from the legislation’s $182 billion stability fund. The legislation would direct the money to states with disproportionately higher premiums.
Under the bill, states with premiums that are at least 75 percent of the national average would qualify to keep one percent of the legislation’s long-term insurance stability fund. Alaska is the only state with premiums that high.
Murkowski said she and fellow Alaskan Republican Dan Sullivan worked with Senate leadership directly on the provision.
“We have been working to make sure high cost states have some way forward, and I think you see it, we’ve done it in that provision,” Murkowski told reporters Thursday.
She declined to say whether any of her other concerns had been addressed, or whether she would support a key procedural vote next week. As recently as Wednesday, Murkowski said she didn’t think the Medicaid cuts should be considered as part of an ObamaCare repeal.
Last month, Murkowski said she wasn’t interested in a special program for her state, where premiums have been skyrocketing.
Republicans hold a narrow majority in the Senate, and can only afford to lose two votes. Already, Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) said they will oppose the procedural motion that would allow them to debate the new healthcare bill.
– This post was updated at 6:54 p.m.