Alexander: 24 Senators, including 12 Republicans, Cosponsor Temporary Legislation to Keep Premiums from Rising 20 Percent, Keep Federal Debt from Spiking $194 Billion in 10 Years

Posted on October 19, 2017

“We haven't moved an inch toward our objectives in the last seven years of giving states more flexibility in creating insurance policies in the individual market. This agreement does.” 

WASHINGTON, October 19, 2017 – Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander today spoke on the Senate floor, announcing he and eleven other Republican senators are among 24 senators cosponsoring temporary legislation to keep premiums from rising 20 percent and to keep the federal debt from spiking $194 billion in 10 years.

“Our agreement permanently amends the Affordable Care Act to give new flexibility for states to create insurance policies that have a larger variety and lower costs and it continues the cost-sharing reduction payments during 2018 and 2019,” Alexander said. “Cost-sharing reduction payments are subsidies that pay for copays and deductibles for low income Americans. Every Republican in the House of Representatives who voted to repeal and replace Obamacare this year, voted for a provision that continued the cost-sharing payments for two years.”

Alexander continued: “The president says there should be no bailout of insurance companies. I agree 100 percent. So does Senator Murray. We have a page and a half to make it clear that insurance companies cannot ‘double dip,’ so the benefits go to consumers not insurance companies.

“Some conservatives object to the idea of paying them at all, but I would ask what's conservative about unaffordable premiums? What's conservative about $194 billion of new federal debt? What's conservative about creating chaos so millions can't buy insurance? What's conservative about a four-lane highway that would be the chaos that leads to a single-payer solution for insurance in this country?”

“The people still objecting are listening to the groups around Washington, D.C. I would suggest they listen to some other people. Listen to the waitress, listen to the songwriter, listen to the brick layer, listen to the small businesswoman. The people of America, there are 350,000 in Tennessee, who may be terrified by the prospect of increasing premiums or even the prospect of not being able to buy insurance at all.”

“We haven't moved an inch toward our objectives in the last seven years of giving states more flexibility in creating insurance policies in the individual market. This agreement does.”

“We have a solution here. Senator Murray and I – a total of 24 United States Senators – are offering it today.”

Alexander and Murray released the names of 22 additional cosponsors -- Republican Senators Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), and Democratic Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.).

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