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Donnelly: Pass Bipartisan Alexander-Murray Agreement To Provide Relief For Families, Stabilize Individual Markets
Updated October 26, 2017 7:34 AM
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(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly spoke on the floor of the Senate today discussing why the Senate must act to pass the bipartisan health care deal announced recently by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA).

After participating in bipartisan meetings that led to the deal, Donnelly announced his support last week for the agreement, which would fund cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments, which help lower consumers' deductibles and co-pays, for two years. It would also include funding to help Americans navigate signing up for health insurance, which had been cut by the Administration, and enable more flexibility for states without undermining essential health benefits coverage or harming Hoosiers with pre-existing conditions.

Donnelly said, in part, in his speech, "For years I have been calling on Democrats and Republicans to work together to improve the health care law... For the first time, we have legislation in the Senate that has broad bipartisan support and would improve issues with our health care system by stabilizing the individual marketplace and lowering premiums for Americans.

"...There is no disputing a simple fact: The Administration's actions created uncertainty for insurers, causing some to significantly raise rates and others to leave the market altogether. As a result, many Americans will be forced to pay more for health care plans through the individual marketplace.

"...Over the past several months, I've engaged in bipartisan conversations and meetings with my colleagues to discuss ways we can partner together to stabilize our health care markets... I have said over and over the American people expect us to work together to try and make life a little better. At the very least, we should do no harm.

"...There is no doubt that we have more work to do, but this proposal is an important first step. Let's strengthen the health care system and make health care more affordable with this bipartisan solution."

Over the past several months, Donnelly participated in bipartisan negotiations and listening sessions with health care experts, led by Alexander and Murray. Donnelly has repeatedly urged the Administration to commit to providing stability to health insurance markets and working together on bipartisan solutions to reduce health care costs, expand access to care, and strengthen the health care system.

Beginning next week, on November 1, millions of Americans including Hoosiers, can sign up for health care coverage through the individual marketplace. Due to the Administration's refusal to commit to continue cost-sharing reduction payments, Hoosiers will be forced to pay more on the individual market. CareSource, which offers insurance to Hoosiers through the individual marketplace, told Donnelly earlier this year that rates would rise 2.2 percent if the federal government committed to continuing cost-sharing reduction payments. Because the Administration refused to do so, rates for CareSource plans are, on average, 20 percent higher for Hoosiers than last year. The other insurer offering coverage in Indiana, Centene, will have average rate increases of nearly 36 percent.

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