This past week, the U.S. Senate held bipartisan hearings, with testimony from state insurance commissioners and governors, on stabilizing the Affordable Care Act by giving insurance companies guidance to finalize 2018 rates.
It was universally agreed that the cost-sharing reductions built into the ACA be continued — the ones President Trump has threatened to stop. Without cost-sharing, rates could soar 20 percent.
This would affect middle-class workers in the “family glitch” who receive no premium subsidies under the ACA. ACA 1332 waivers should be more easily obtained, leading to unsubsidized premiums being reduced.
Also agreed was that for 71/2 years Congress has been unable to strengthen the law and bring relief to those who are adversely affected by unintended consequences. The plan is this bill will be passed by Sept. 27— the drop dead date for companies to publish rates.
Against this backdrop of unprecedented cooperation comes disheartening news that a highly partisan Republican bill was proposed Monday that would gut the ACA. Republican Gov. Baker testified this proposal would cost Massachusetts billions of dollars over just a few years. A bait-and-switch bill was sprung as Irma and the 9/11 anniversary dominated the news.