Health care debate takes on new look as lawmakers return from recess

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) – Lawmakers return to Washington after a near monthlong recess, faced with a busy agenda. One of the big topics is health care. It is a debate that has crippled Congress for much of 2017, and many Alaskans have expressed discontent with the process.

Marvin Williams says he doesn’t want the country to “go under” because of health care.

“They’ve been trying to come up with solutions and now it’s come to the point to where it might end up costing the citizens a lot more,” said Marvin Williams from Anchorage.

Williams says he wants his lawmakers to come together to help the American people. As lawmakers get back to work, Williams says it is time to find an amicable way to save American health care.

“I don’t want to see our country go down over health care or our citizens end up paying a bunch more,” said Williams.

Like Williams, Bruce Richter is upset with how lawmakers have gone about trying to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Richter says he’s worried about rising health care costs, and feels lawmakers haven’t disclosed what the plan is to address the issue.

“It’s very disingenuous of Republicans to say that they have a replacement but it’s secret and not tell anybody what the details of that are,” said Richter.

Pivoting from repeal and replace, the Senate now has to decide whether to stabilize the Affordable Care Act before premiums skyrocket and insurers leave marketplaces. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) says action is imperative to help her constituents.

“We have to do something in the near term to stabilize individual markets,” said Murkowski.

A Senate Committee held a bipartisan hearing to discuss maintaining federal funding for individuals in the marketplace and to encourage insurer participation. Murkowski says these types of hearings should’ve been a staple of the “Obamacare” repeal and replace effort.

“The interest in doing it in a bipartisan, open process way. This is a world apart from where we were (at) the end of July,” said Murkowski.

There are three more health care related hearings on the calendar over the next two weeks.


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