The White House is pushing for several conservative policies to be included in a bill aimed at stabilizing ObamaCare, according to an administration memo obtained by The Hill.
The document gives support to funding controversial ObamaCare payments known as cost-sharing reduction payments (CSRs), which President Trump canceled in October. But it also lays out conservative policies that the administration wants included as well.
“Although congressional efforts to provide taxpayer money to prop up the exchanges is understandable, any such efforts must also provide relief to middle-class families harmed by the law and protect life,” the memo states. “In order to support such efforts, the administration believes these three policies to provide greater choice and control for middle-class families must be included.”
The stabilization bill, aimed at bringing down premiums, could be included in a coming government funding bill needed to prevent a shutdown by March 23. But lawmakers in both parties are still negotiating.
The White House requests include codifying into law a recent Trump administration action to allow cheaper, skimpier health insurance plans known as short-term plans, and allowing them to be renewed beyond one year. Democrats have decried these plans as “junk” insurance.
A second request would allow older people to be charged five times as much in premiums as younger people, up from the current ratio of three to one. Republicans argue this would bring in healthier, younger people by offering them cheaper plans, but Democrats, as well as influential groups like the AARP, oppose the move.
The third change is less controversial, and would expand health savings accounts.
Finally, the White House document also stresses the need to “protect life.” While the exact provisions are not specified, that could be a reference to including the Hyde Amendment preventing the new ObamaCare funding from being used for abortions.
Restrictions on the new funding going towards abortions has been an obstacle for months to Republicans and Democrats reaching an ObamaCare deal, given that Democrats oppose extending the restrictions into new areas.
Trump said in a closed-door meeting in November that he would support making the CSR payments, in addition to other funding to bring down premiums known as reinsurance, in exchange for Sen. Susan Collins ’s (R-Maine) vote for tax reform.
The bill backed by Collins have since been delayed, but she is hoping to finally get them included in the coming funding deal, if an agreement can be reached.
ObamaCare Memo by blc88 on Scribd