‘Reinsurance’ Obamacare fix wins bipartisan support in Senate
By Tom Howell, Jr.
The West Virginian is among senators on both sides of the aisle who want to bring back a bipartisan “reinsurance” plan, in which federal dollars blunt the costs of pricey customers in states’ markets, so everyone else can pay less.
A similar plan fell apart earlier this year, as both sides girded for a bitter midterm-election campaign. Yet Democrats romped to victory in the House and limited their Senate losses in a very unfavorable map, leaving a divided government and a chance for the White House to step in and find common ground.
“It’s going to be called ‘Trump Repair-care,’” Mr. Manchin said. “It really should be, because he’s the only one who can fix it. And I’m hoping he does.”
Sen. Bill Cassidy, Louisiana Republican, said lawmakers are already reaching for consensus on health costs, citing efforts to tamp down surprise medical bills and rein in drug prices by forbidding “gag clauses” at the pharmacy counter.
Like Mr. Manchin, he’s hopeful that bipartisan negotiators can revive a deal that stabilizes the Obamacare markets, after Democrats walked from the initial plan over anti-abortion language . . .
Indeed, the Republican approach will likely tack along two prongs — renewing their push for the workable, market-oriented plan that eluded them last year, while playing defense against a full government takeover of the health system, said Sally Pipes, president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute.
“I think the Republicans need to come up with a plan that will bring about market-driven health care. If they had a better plan in 2017, they might have been able to repeal and replace and been able to get together [on it],” she said. “The second thing is fight Medicare for all.”