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August 10, 2017

The 6 health reforms that liberal and conservative experts actually agree on

Daily Briefing

    A bipartisan group of health policy experts have proposed steps the Trump administration and Congress can take to bolster the individual health insurance market under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

    The proposal was drafted by:

    • Joseph Antos, a Resident Scholar and Wilson H. Taylor Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute;
    • Stuart Butler, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution;
    • Lanhee Chen, who served as the policy director for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's (R) 2012 presidential campaign;
    • John McDonough, who served as a senior adviser to former Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.);
    • Ron Pollack, former director of Families USA;
    • Sara Rosenbaum, the Harold and Jane Hirsh Professor of Health Law and Policy at George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health;
    • Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute;
    • Vikki Wachino, who served as deputy administrator of CMS and director of CMS' Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services under former President Barack Obama; and
    • Gail Wilensky, who served as CMS administrator under former President George H.W. Bush.

    The proposal, which the experts composed as a project for the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution, stated that its suggestions are intended to help keep the individual health insurance market stable "until a longer-term resolution can be achieved and, most importantly, to protect coverage and health care access."

    The experts said Congress should appropriate funding for cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers called for under the ACA and:

    • Allow states more flexibility under the ACA's so-called "state innovation waivers";
    • Continue outreach to encourage U.S. residents to enroll in exchange plans;
    • Ensure there are no areas in which U.S. residents do not have access to exchange plans;
    • Expand the use of health savings accounts;
    • Extend federal funding for CHIP through 2019; and
    • Keep in place penalties U.S. residents can face for not having health coverage.

    The experts urged the administration and lawmakers to act to bolster the health insurance market by Sept. 30, which is the end of the government's current fiscal year (Fram, AP/Sacramento Bee, 8/7; Ehley, "Pulse," Politico, 8/8; Pradhan, Politico Pro, 8/7 [subscription required]).

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