Lipinski Leads Bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus in Proposing Plan to Stabilize Individual Health Insurance Market and Lower Premiums

Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) is helping lead the Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group of 40 House members, in proposing a compromise plan that would stabilize the individual health insurance market by stopping a threatened 2018 premium spike while permanently lowering premiums.

“For the past seven years, I’ve said that the two parties need to come together to work on fixes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as Obamacare,” said Rep. Lipinski.  “On the heels of the failure of the Republican effort to repeal the ACA, the Problem Solvers Caucus is taking the lead in doing just that.  The commonsense, bipartisan plan we are putting forward will take the steps that everyone agrees are needed to stabilize the individual health insurance market and reduce premiums.” 

The plan has five provisions, which will be paid for by offsets from within the healthcare system:

1.     Appropriate funds so that cost-sharing reduction payments continue to be made.  The current method of funding these payments has been ruled unconstitutional by the federal district court of Washington, D.C., so the Trump Administration has threatened to stop the payments.  Such a move would result in a 15-20% jump in premiums for 2018, putting insurance out of reach for many and threatening to destabilize more state markets.  The bipartisan plan would prevent this premium shock and the detrimental impact it would have. 

2.     Create a dedicated stability fund for states to facilitate reinsurance programs or other methods of paying for high-cost enrollees, resulting in a 5-10% reduction in premiums.

3.     Raise the threshold on the employer mandate to businesses of 500 or more employees.  Additionally, the definition of “full time” under the employer mandate would be revised to 40 hours.  The Congressional Budget Office, Urban Institute, and other healthcare experts have said that repealing the employer mandate entirely would not have a significant effect on insurance coverage.  

4.     Repeal the medical device tax of 2.3%.

5.     Provide clear guidance for states that want to innovate under existing Sections 1332 and 1333 of the ACA. 

“For far too long, the two parties have been fighting an ideological and political battle over healthcare,” stated Lipinski.  “Now the individual insurance market is failing in some states and threatened in others as the Trump Administration won’t commit to continuing to make cost-sharing reduction payments.  Instead of joining the partisan battle or standing on the sidelines, I helped lead our bipartisan group in agreeing to sit down, negotiate, compromise, and come to an agreement on a plan that will stabilize the individual market and reduce premiums.  Passage of this plan would be a big win for the American people.

“The purpose of this plan is not to solve all the issues with the ACA, but to avoid a disaster in the markets that would make affordable healthcare inaccessible for too many people.  The American people want their representatives to be working for the good of the country and to make their lives better.  That is what we did with this compromise.

“Many thought they’d never see the day when so many Democrats and Republicans could agree on anything when it comes to providing affordable healthcare.  We have proved that it is possible, and I’m hopeful that the rest of Congress sees what we have done and comes together for the good of the country.”