Yesterday, Members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus wrote to the leadership of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and the Senate Committee on Finance to urge their respective leaders to consider and implement bipartisan solutions to health care in order to stabilize the individual health insurance market and provide relief to small businesses.
In July, the Problem Solvers Caucus, led by Co-Chairs Tom Reed (NY-23) and Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), explored realistic health care solutions and reached an agreement on a bipartisan set of principles to stabilize health insurance markets and provide relief to Americans across the nation.
“All forty-three members of our bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus urge you to continue to push for a solution that can take effect for insurance plans offered in 2018. While we realize that our window for completing this is short, we offer you our steadfast support and assistance for bipartisan solutions that improve patient choice and responsibility, create positive incentive for providers to lower costs, and enhance state flexibility,” the Members wrote.
The Members who signed this letter include: Ami Bera, Salud O. Carbajal, Mike Coffman, Jim Costa, Ryan A. Costello, Carlos Curbelo, Elizabeth H. Esty, John J. Faso, Josh Gottheimer, Brian K. Fitzpatrick, John Katko, Leonard Lance, Daniel Lipinski, Martha McSally, Stephanie Murphy, Richard R. Nolan, Tom O’Halleran, Jimmy Panetta, Tom Reed, Bradley S. Schneider, Kurt Schrader, Lloyd Smucker, Darren Soto, Thomas R. Suozzi, Peter Welch.
The full letter from the Problem Solvers Caucus can be found below and HERE:
Dear Chairman Alexander, Ranking Member Murray, Chairman Hatch, and Ranking Member Wyden,
On behalf of the forty-three member bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, we are writing you today to offer our full-fledged support for the renewed effort to pass and sign into law bipartisan measures to stabilize the individual health insurance market and provide relief to small businesses. We applaud you for leading the way in the U.S. Senate and returning to regular order, including the execution of hearings last week with critical stakeholders in the Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions.
As you may know, on July 31, the Problem Solvers Caucus reached an agreement on a bipartisan set of solutions to stabilize health insurance markets and provide relief to individuals, families and small businesses across America. Our Caucus agreed on exploring realistic solutions, including:
· Ensuring cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments are funded and Congress provides necessary oversight;
· Creating a dedicated stability fund that states can use to reduce premiums and limit losses for providing coverage – especially those with pre-existing conditions;
· A commitment to offset these investments and be fiscally responsible;
· Adjusting the employer mandate by raising the threshold on the requirement for employers to provide insurance under the employer mandate to businesses of 500 employees or more and defining the “full time” work week as 40 hours or more a week;
· Repealing the medical device tax; and
· Providing technical changes and clear guidelines for states that want to innovate on the exchange (Section 1332 waivers) or enter into regional compacts (Section 1333 waivers) to improve coverage and create more options for consumers.
As you can see, our proposal contains some elements that Democratic members advocated for and some Republicans desired. The compromise solution was accepted by our Caucus due to our desire to find common ground to solve problems. As you move forward, we urge you to ensure bipartisan proposal is equally balanced.
As a bipartisan Caucus, we used the August work period to meet with our constituents and critical stakeholders, including governors and state insurance commissioners from across the country, and the overwhelming message is clear: Congress must act now.
All forty-three members of our bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus urge you to continue to push for a solution that can take effect for insurance plans offered in 2018. While we realize that our window for completing this is short, we offer to you in earnest our steadfast support and assistance for bipartisan solutions that improve patient choice and responsibility, create positive incentives for providers to lower costs, and enhance state flexibility. We stand ready to help find a path that can restructure and stabilize the individual market.