Finally, there’s a reason for hope on health care.
Americans woke up Friday morning to news that the health care coverage and protections on which they depend remain the law of the land.
Republican Senators John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins voted with all Senate Democrats to defeat a package that members of the Republican caucus hours earlier called “a disaster,” “a fraud,” and “terrible policy and terrible politics.”
A defeated Senator McConnell told lawmakers, “We look forward to hearing what our colleagues on the other side have to say.”
And we’ve already noticed a pretty strong theme in their responses so far…
Clearly, Democrats stand ready to partner with serious Republicans who want to continue to improve our health care system. Fortunately, there are a lot of good ideas out there that can fix the pieces that aren’t working without throwing out either the protections in Obamacare that Americans like or taking away the coverage that is giving security to millions of families.
For example, we have a few ideas that Congress could use right now to stabilize insurance markets:
- Pass a bill supporting the use of invisible high-risk pools, which sends public funding to plans that have lots of high-cost patients. These keep people with high-cost conditions in health exchanges with healthy enrollees without excess strain.
- Grant regulatory relief for rules that discourage health plan participation in Obamacare exchanges, like requirements to offer extremely generous benefit options.
- Fix subsidies for coverage so they do not discriminate against moderate-income families and improve protection for high out-of-pocket costs.
The New Democrat Coalition in the House has plenty of other ideas as well:
This includes creating a permanent reinsurance program, reducing copays and deductibles for low-income Americans, and ensuring that people pay their fair share by enrolling during open enrollment periods unless they specifically quality for special enrollment.
Senate Democratic leaders have a good list of fixes including a reinsurance proposal from Senators Tom Carper and Tim Kaine.
There’s no shortage of good ideas to move forward, and — if Republicans are willing to partner with Democrats to work together on actual solutions — no limits on how Congress can make health care better for all Americans.