Governors, state insurance commissioners to weigh in on health bill

Governors, state insurance commissioners to weigh in on health bill
© Greg Nash

The Senate's Health Committee will hear from state insurance commissioners and governors about how to stabilize the ObamaCare exchanges during two hearings next month.

State insurance commissioners will testify on Sept. 6, while governors will appear before the panel the following day. 

“At these hearings, we will hear testimony from state insurance commissioners and governors—those closest to the problem—on steps Congress can take to help make insurance available at affordable prices. Any solution that Congress passes for a 2018 stabilization package will have to be small, bipartisan and balanced," Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderPelosi aide hopeful White House will support drug-pricing bill despite criticism Overnight Energy: BLM staff face choice of relocation or resignation as agency moves | Trump says he's 'very much into climate' | EPA rule would expand limits on scientific studies Juan Williams: Republicans flee Trump MORE (R-Tenn.) said in a statement Tuesday. 

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Alexander said the bipartisan healthcare bill must give states "flexibility" in waiving out of some ObamaCare requirements while funding key payments to insurers known as cost-sharing reduction subsidies. 

Many insurers have requested large premium increases for 2018 because of the uncertainty surrounding the payments. The Trump administration has made them on a month-to-month basis, but insurers have asked for long-term certainty. 

Alexander's office noted that more hearings will be announced in the future.

The Tennessee Republican said he hopes his committee can pass a bill by the end of September. 

But that may be too late for insurers to make any changes to premiums for 2018. 

The final deadline for insurers to sign contracts to participate in the ObamaCare exchanges next year is Sept. 27. Open enrollment begins Nov. 1.