The Trump administration detailed how it could be won over to support an Obamacare stabilization bill, saying Wednesday that a package must include "relief" from the unpopular individual mandate that obligates people have health insurance or pay a fine.
"In order for the White House to support similar legislation, it must provide immediate benefits to American families, workers, and small businesses," a White House official said in an email. "These benefits should include relief from the individual and employer mandates; an expansion of affordable coverage options, such as the ones referenced in last week's executive order; a greater ability for middle-income families to control their healthcare dollars; and meaningful flexibility for states to allow their residents to escape onerous Obamacare requirements."
The details suggest that President Trump has not fully closed the door on supporting an Obamacare stabilization bill, though he said earlier in the day that he did not support the current draft.
The employer mandate requires that employers provide health insurance if they have more than 50 full-time employees, a mandate that small businesses find onerous. Its implementation has been delayed before, under former President Barack Obama.
The executive order Trump issued last week asks federal agencies to review how different small businesses can band together to provide health insurance, and to look into changing the rules of short-term health insurance plans so they could be offered over a longer period of time. Democrats have balked at the proposals, calling them a "sabotage" of Obamacare and saying that they offer inadequate protections for people with pre-existing illnesses or for healthy people who later develop a chronic illness.
On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he did not believe Democrats should re-open negotiations on the bill.
The previous agreement had been reached by Sen. Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and Sen. Patty Murray, its top-ranking Democrat. The bill would have expanded the sale of "copper" plans, which have lower premiums and higher deductibles, to more people, and would have accelerated the process by which states can make changes to Obamacare.
It also funded Obamacare's cost-sharing reduction subsidies for the rest of this year and two years after. The funds go toward out-of-pocket costs for low-income people who enroll in Obamacare plans. In order to still offer them, insurers would raise premiums on some plans, which would mostly affect people who don't receive federal assistance to pay for coverage.
Trump abruptly ended the funds last week, noting that a judge had previously ruled it was illegal for them to be authorized under the executive branch, and saying publicly that his move was intended to bring Congress to a healthcare deal.
Trump has wavered in his support for the bill, telling Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, that he supported his efforts, but then said when the details became public that he did not want to do anything that would "enrich the insurance companies."
Conservatives have been concerned about appropriating the funds without changes to Obamacare that would make health insurance less expensive and help to fulfill the party's promise to repeal and replace the law.
Source : http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/white-house-shares-how-to-win-trump-over-on-obamacare-stabilization/article/2637983561