On Oct. 17, Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) announced a short-term deal aimed at stabilizing the individual health insurance market and lowering the costs of premiums.

According to a press release from Sen. Alexander, the Alexander-Murray bill amends the ACA to give new flexibility for states to create insurance policies that offer larger variety and lower costs; at the same time, the bill will continue cost-sharing reduction payments (CSRs) through 2019.

The Congressional Budget Office also released a report on the legislation, saying the bill would reduce the deficit by $3.8 billion from 2018 to 2027.   

On Oct. 24, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Representative Kevin Brady (R-Texas), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, released a separate proposal to replace the ACA.

A press release from Sen. Hatch stated that while the proposal is not a repeal of the ACA, it would change several parts of the law, including the expansion of Health Savings Accounts to increase the maximum limit, relief from the individual mandate from 2017 to 2021 and relief from the employer mandate from 2015 to 2017.  

Like the Alexander-Murray bill, the Hatch-Brady proposal also funds CSRs through 2019, but includes pro-life protections and certain conditions that carriers must meet to receive funding. 

ABC will continue to provide updates in Newsline on the status of these proposals and other health care issues that impact ABC members.