On Tuesday, Oct. 17, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA), announced a bipartisan agreement to stabilize health insurance markets.

In response to the Trump administration’s recent statement indicating that it will immediately discontinue the cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments authorized by the Affordable Care Act, the bi-partisan HELP plan would fund the ACA’s CSR subsidies up until the end of 2019. The bill also proposes to shift $106 million to outreach and enrollment efforts and provides states with more options when applying for waivers from the health care law.

Although the bill stems from senior members of the Republican and Democrat caucuses, many Republican members of the House of Representatives and Senate are lukewarm toward it. Most significantly, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI), expressed publicly that Senate Republicans should instead focus on an ACA repeal-and-replace plan.

Although he initially expressed his support for the Alexander-Murray agreement, President Trump recently backtracked, stating that he will not sign this bill in its current form should it pass the Senate and House, as he considers it to be a bailout of U.S. insurance companies.

For more information on pending health care legislation, please contact AASM advocacy staff at (630) 737-9700.