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Sen. Collins' Strategy To Stabilize Insurance Market Raises Doubt Among Analysts

By Kaiser Health News  
   December 11, 2017

Some analysts question whether the bill restoring the federal cost-sharing subsidy payments could actually do more harm than good.

This article first appeared December 11, 2017 on Kaiser Health News.

By Julie Rovner

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), whose vote was pivotal in pushing the GOP tax bill forward last week, thought she had a deal to bolster health care protections in exchange for her support.

But it’s now far from clear that her strategy to shore up part of the Affordable Care Act will prevail or that her deal would produce the results she anticipates.

The tax bill repeals the ACA’s fines for the “individual mandate,” which requires most people to have health insurance or pay a fine. Collins said she would vote for it if Senate Republicans promised to allow a vote on two other health bills.

One would reinstate payments to insurers in order to cover discounts that the ACA requires those insurers to provide to their lowest-income enrollees for out-of-pocket costs. President Donald Trump ended those “cost-sharing reduction” payments in October. The bill that Collins supports would extend the payments for two years.


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Kaiser Health News is a national health policy news service that is part of the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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