Thursday, 19 October 2017 11:47

Louisiana Governor Edwards joins other states governors urging Congress for vote on healthcare bill

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Last week, President Donald Trump took unilateral action via an executive order to stop paying insurance companies amounts as designated under the Affordable Care Act, to reimburse insurers for their payments to insureds under the Affordable Care Act.  The President claims the payments to the insurance companies are a bailout. After terminating the payments, Trump said that  "Obamacare is dead". The President and the Republican-led Congress were unsuccessful in repealing and replacing Obamacare which lack of success precipitated Trump's move last week.

Members in Congress have attempted to fashion a compromise to stabilize the health insurance industry.

Below is a press release from Governor John Bel Edwards office explaining and introducing a letter that various Democrat and Republican governors have signed and sent to Congress in support of the compromise legilsation:

This week, Gov. John Bel Edwards joined Governors John R. Kasich (R-Ohio), Steve Bullock (D-Mont.), Brian Sandoval (R-Nev.), Phil Scott (R-Vt.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Charles Baker (R-Mass.), Tom Wolf (D-Pa.), Bill Walker (I-Alaska) and Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.) in calling on Congress to quickly pass legislation that will stabilize private health insurance markets and make health insurance more affordable.  The bipartisan group of governors have worked collaboratively throughout the summer to encourage a bipartisan solution to health care reform, such as a plan spearheaded by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.)

We urge Congress to quickly pass legislation to stabilize our private health insurance markets and make quality health insurance more available and affordable,” the governors said in a letter to congressional leaders.  “Senators Alexander and Murray have negotiated in good faith and developed a bipartisan agreement that will help achieve these goals. Their legislation deserves a vote by the House and Senate.”

The governors continued, “We urge Congress to work with states to make reforms that will preserve and expand gains in coverage, while controlling costs for consumers. Earlier this year, Governors from both sides laid out a framework to help stabilize the individual markets. We are encouraged that the Senators’ agreement contains many of the elements that Governors identified as important to stabilizing the market, providing choice for consumers and making insurance more affordable.”

John Bel Edwards, Governor of Louisiana

The full letter to congressional leaders is below

In August 2017, the bipartisan group of governors sent a letter to congressional leaders outlining a framework for reform.  The letter is available here.  

Dear Mr. Speaker, Leader McConnell, Leader Pelosi and Leader Schumer:
We urge Congress to quickly pass legislation to stabilize our private health insurance markets
and make quality health insurance more available and affordable. Senators Alexander and
Murray have negotiated in good faith and developed a bipartisan agreement that will help
achieve these goals. Their legislation deserves a vote by the House and Senate.

Federal law requires insurers to provide discounted cost-sharing for lower income Americans.
With the elimination of federal payments for the cost sharing reduction program, insurers are
faced with significant financial losses, which could force them to withdraw from the
marketplace, or, in some states, request significant rate increases.

The Congressional Budget Office warned that the president’s action would increase premiums by
25 percent by 2020 and leave some Americans without any insurers in the nongroup market– all
while driving up the national debt by nearly $200 billion. The timing of the termination – days
before open enrollment begins – is sowing confusion among consumers and leaving states
scrambling to develop solutions to stabilize their insurance markets.

Stabilizing insurance markets is one of the primary areas where Congress can take action to
ensure that consumers have affordable health care options. As governors, we deal with the reallife
impacts of actions taken in Washington, DC. With heightened uncertainty at the federal
level, many of our states have worked hard to ensure that every part of each of our states has
insurers willing to offer plans on the individual market. We have explored, designed, and
implemented programs to help keep costs from spiraling out of control.

That is why Congress should, at a minimum, fund cost-sharing reduction payments through
2019.

We urge Congress to work with states to make reforms that will preserve and expand gains in
coverage, while controlling costs for consumers. Earlier this year, Governors from both sides
laid out a framework to help stabilize the individual markets. We are encouraged that the 
Senators’ agreement contains many of the elements that Governors identified as important to
stabilizing the market, providing choice for consumers and making insurance more affordable.
We look forward to continuing to work with you to improve the American health care system.
 

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