Top Republicans unveil conservative alternative to ObamaCare deal

Greg Nash

Top Republicans in the House and Senate rejected a bipartisan deal to stabilize ObamaCare’s insurance markets Tuesday, instead releasing their own, more conservative plan. 

A proposal from Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and House Ways & Means Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) would fund key ObamaCare insurer payments, known as cost-sharing reductions (CSRs), for two years and temporarily repeal the law’s individual and employer mandates. 

“As I have said all along, if Congress is going to appropriate funds for CSRs, we must include meaningful structural reforms that provide Americans relief from Obamacare,” Hatch said in a statement. 

The proposal goes a step further than a bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate last week. That bill was negotiated with Democrats by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.).

While both plans would fund the insurer payments through 2019, the Hatch-Brady plan stipulates that insurers must meet “pro-life” conditions to receive the funds. 

The first Senate plan doesn’t touch ObamaCare’s mandates, while the new proposal does. 

Under the Hatch-Brady plan, “relief” from ObamaCare’s individual mandate would be provided from 2017 to 2021 and for the employer mandate from 2015 to 2017. 

The new plan would also increase the maximum contribution limit for health savings accounts. 

“Millions of families in Texas and across the country still trapped in Obamacare are desperately looking for relief — not a reinforcement of today’s failed status quo,” Brady said in a statement.

Some Republicans, like Hatch, have been critical of the bipartisan health plan for funding the insurer payments without making enough conservative changes.

President Trump has also expressed unease with the bipartisan plan, and some of the changes he has asked for are included in Hatch’s proposal.

But Democrats aren’t likely to support the Hatch-Brady plan. They argue repealing the mandates could destabilize the markets.  

Tags Kevin Brady Lamar Alexander Orrin Hatch

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