Senator Collins Urges Colleagues to Take Action to Significantly Reduce the Cost of Health Care for Millions of Americans

Proposal would lower health insurance premiums in the individual market by up to 40 percent

Click HERE to read Senator Collins’ floor remarks

Click HERE to watch Senator Collins’ floor remarks
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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) spoke from the Senate floor this afternoon to urge her colleagues to support legislation she introduced with Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) that would substantially lower the cost of health insurance and increase the affordability of insurance for millions of Americans who purchase plans in the individual market. 

 

“When our country is confronted with such a serious problem, Americans expect us to come together.  They expect us to work constructively.  They expect us to provide real relief from the rising cost of health insurance that makes health insurance unaffordable to far too many Americans.  And that is precisely what our plan would do,” said Senator Collins.  “Let me be crystal clear: our proposal is the last opportunity to prevent these rate increases, which will be announced on October 1st.  And our package will help to stabilize the insurance markets and make them more competitive. Every study has shown that our bills would make health insurance more affordable.”

 

“We must not lose sight of the goal, and that is making health insurance more affordable for millions of Americans,” Senator Collins continued.  “Including our insurance package in the Omnibus is the right thing to do, and it is urgent that we do it now.”

 

According to the leading health care experts at Oliver Wyman, Senators Collins and Alexander’s proposal would lower health insurance premiums in the individual market by as much as 40 percent compared to what people will otherwise pay if Congress fails to act. It would also expand coverage to an additional 3.2 million individuals.

 

Background on the proposal:

  • Meaningful permanent flexibility for states in revised Section 1332 Affordable Care Act State Innovation Waivers.
  • 3 years funding of invisible high risk pools/reinsurance at $10 billion per year, with a federal fallback in the first year. States could set up an invisible high-risk pool based on the Alaska/Maine model, a traditional reinsurance pool, a pool based on another state’s model, or something of their own design.
  • Authorizes new copper plans that will allow anyone to buy catastrophic coverage.
  • 3 years funding of cost-sharing reduction subsidies. Helps those who are below 250% of the poverty level who receive government assistance to help them pay for their deductibles and co-pays.
  • Includes protections so that federal funding directly benefits Americans, not insurance companies.
  • Requires the HHS secretary to issue regulations allowing insurers to sell plans across state lines.
  • Does not change Affordable Care Act essential benefits requirements or guarantee of insurance for an individual with pre-existing conditions.
  • Includes the traditional Hyde protections that have applied to appropriations bills since 1976 and that apply to Medicaid, Medicare, Children’s Health Insurance Program, TRICARE, Indian Health Service, Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, Veterans Affairs, and the Labor-HHS appropriations bill. Clarifies that Hyde-exemptions and effect on non-federal funding remain the same.
  • Requires transparency for consumers purchasing short-term limited duration insurance.

 

Click HERE for the text of the proposed legislation.