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Slavitt: If Anyone Can Pull Off a Bipartisan Healthcare Solution, It’s These Lawmakers

By Philip Betbeze  
   September 29, 2017

Former Senator Bill Frist and former Acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt say the best chance at meaningful fixes to Obamacare problems after the failure of Graham-Cassidy depends on the work of Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray.

The nascent effort to find a limited bipartisan solution to the problems with the Obamacare Exchanges by Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) is perhaps the last, best chance for stabilizing an individual insurance market.

That market is at risk of imploding in many states with skyrocketing premiums and dwindling health plan options.

Indeed, that bipartisan effort has been renewed with the failure of Republicans to garner enough Senate votes to hold a vote on passage of the Graham-Cassidy bill this week.

Acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt and former Sen. Bill Frist discussed the scope of the renewed bipartisan effort by Alexander and Murray, the failure of the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal bill, and the future of value-based care initiatives today at a Nashville Health Care Council breakfast event.

Frist interviewed Slavitt after returning late Thursday from working with the group in Washington on negotiations late Thursday.

“There’s no better partner for Alexander than Murray,” said Slavitt.

The two senators have a great working relationship and the focus on not overcomplicating efforts to stabilize the individual insurance market represents a bipartisan effort to start small, Slavitt said.  

Frist said the two senators are close to consensus on five to six recommendations to improve the ACA that would bring down premiums and are budget-friendly, but would likely be too late for the 2018 Obamacare plans, contracts for which were signed just this week.

Philip Betbeze is the senior leadership editor at HealthLeaders.

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