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Support Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization

For the last several months, Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) have been negotiating a bipartisan fix for some of the Affordable Care Act’s challenges. The ACA has allowed millions to access insurance for the first time, but high costs and decreased marketplace competition have prevented it from expanding access even more. On October 17, Senators Alexander and Murray announced the product of their negotiations, the Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act of 2017.

The legislation is an exciting step forward for the future of health care and a strong show of bipartisanship. At a policy level, the legislation offers several worthwhile measures for stabilizing the individual marketplace. It will give insurers and consumers the certainty necessary for reducing costs and increasing access. From a political perspective, this type of bipartisan approach will hopefully allow members of Congress to move away from the gamesmanship that has prevented any meaningful action to further strengthen our health care system this year.

Urge your members of Congress to support the Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act of 2017 and take a much-needed step forward for the future of health care.

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  • Background

    Senators Alexander and Murray have led discussions about policies that could lower costs and inject much-needed certainty into the ACA’s marketplaces. Instead of using the partisan reconciliation mechanism to pass reforms, Senators Alexander and Murray have held committee hearings and consulted experts, and are planning to use normal order to pass their legislation.

    President Trump’s decision to end the Cost Sharing Reductions (CSRs) made the need for this legislation even more important. Insurance providers receive CSRs as reimbursements for the lower out-of-pocket costs they are required to offer to certain consumers. Insurers are likely to pass these costs on to consumers absent Congressional action.

    The contours of the bipartisan agreement suggest that it would do substantial good for the ACA’s marketplace. The deal includes a two-year authorization of the CSRs. The deal would also restore funding for open enrollment advertising that was cut by the Trump Administration, ease states’ abilities to innovate their marketplaces, and allow people over the age of 30 to purchase “catastrophic coverage.” These solutions are not comprehensive fixes to the health care system, but are common-sense approaches that should help millions. 


    Jewish Values

    The Shulchan Aruch, the seminal 16th century Jewish legal text, directly addresses the need to provide healing for all those in need. Doctors who withhold treatment from those who need it are considered to have shed blood (Yoreh De’ah 336:3). Today’s health care system encompasses a wide range of groups—doctors, nurses, insurance providers, hospital administrations, as well as lawmakers. Lawmakers who reduce access to medical treatment bear the same responsibility as doctors who do not help those in need.

    More Information:

    You can email your elected officials through our form above, or you can call the Capital Switchboard at 202.224.3121 and ask to speak directly with their offices. 

    For more information on this issue, visit the RAC's page on health care or contact Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Nathan Bennett.