House Leaders Working on Obamacare Stabilization

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

Caitlin Owens reports that a pair of House Republicans—one a moderate and one an archconservative—are working on a bill to stabilize Obamacare:

Reps. Tom MacArthur and Mark Meadows are working together on an individual market stabilization package, according to a senior GOP aide. It will include funding for the Affordable Care Act’s cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers, although it’s unclear for how long….One crucial piece, according to a second GOP aide, is an agreement on “very flexible 1332 waiver language” in exchange for CSR funding. The state waivers are an important priority for conservative Republicans.

This is the most obvious short-term compromise possible. If the CSR subsidies go away, premiums will go up about 15 percent next year. Not only will that be really unpopular, but it would, counterintuitively, cost the government a bundle since the higher premiums will generate higher subsidies. Meanwhile, conservatives have been pushing for a long time for waivers that allow states to run health care systems radically different from Obamacare.

Needless to say, the devil is in the details. On the CSR side, they key is how long the funding would be guaranteed. Appropriations can only be made for two years, but it’s possible to convert the CSR subsidies into mandatory spending that doesn’t require an appropriation. That would make it permanent. On the waiver side, everything depends on just how far the waivers go. Conservatives want a blank slate. Moderates and liberals want to keep some of the key provisions of Obamacare, like essential benefits and tax subsidies.

I’m pretty sure that a bill like this can’t be passed under reconciliation (the 1332 waivers wouldn’t qualify), so it would need 60 votes in the Senate. That means it needs to be acceptable to Democrats, not just Republicans.

It’s possible that something with this at its core could be doable. Stay tuned.

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate