Is legislative health-care reform really dead?
Most of Congress seems to think so, and President Trump agrees, if his irate tweets about taking executive action to fix health care on his own are any indication. But the fact remains that Obamacare exchanges are still struggling all across the country. While a GOP-led repeal bill might not be on the table again anytime in the near future, some lawmakers continue to float possible solutions.
In the House, a group of about 40 centrist lawmakers hopes to lead the effort to stabilize the Obamacare exchanges. Called the Problem Solvers caucus, the group includes some moderate congressmen from the New Democrat Coalition and the GOP's Tuesday Group.
Led by Democratic congressmen Tom Reed (N.Y.) and Josh Gottheimer (N.J.), the caucus is primarily focused on continuing to fund the Affordable Care Act's cost-sharing-reduction subsidies (CSR payments), which reduce the significant costs to insurers of covering low-income Americans under Obamacare.
The bipartisan group also wants to establish a federal stability fund that states could access to reduce premiums for citizens with high-cost medical needs. The moderate lawmakers hope to alter the employer mandate so that it applies only to companies with over 500 workers, which would relieve the tax burden on small businesses that choose not to provide insurance plans.
The Problem Solvers caucus has also rallied behind a few ideas that have gained bipartisan support in the past, including abolishing the ACA's medical-device tax and expanding states' ability to seek waivers from some of the bill's coverage rules.
On Wednesday, Republican congressman Mark Meadows, chair of the House Freedom Caucus, said health-care reform isn't over. He also said that he has met with the Trump administration to discuss the path forward, and he's confident they can develop a new plan. Meadows was one of the key GOP members to broker the deal for an amendment that enabled the American Health Care Act to pass the House in April.