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Delaware senators focus on ACA fixes after failed 'skinny' repeal vote

Delaware Public Media

After another failed GOP attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act early Friday morning, Delaware’s senators are calling for a bipartisan solution to stabilize marketplaces.

Delaware's Senator Chris Coons and Tom Carper returned to the First State Friday after an early-morning vote on a so-called “skinny repeal" of the Affordable Care Act.


It didn’t pass, and Delaware’s junior senator Chris Coons says he thinks Republicans are finally tiring from their fight to repeal the ACA.


“Every time they tried to make the bill more conservative to more completely repeal the ACA and all of its taxes and all of its regulations, they lose senators from states that benefited from Medicaid expansion," Coons said. " Whenever they tried to keep some components of the ACA, they’d lose some of the more conservative senators."


Coons says he thinks President Trump all along has been more eager for a partisan political win than a real healthcare solution.


But after a long night of arm-twisting and debate Thursday into the wee hours of the morning Friday, Coons says he thinks Republicans are not on the same page as Trump.


“Fortunately, a number of Republican senators said: 'that’s not what we’re interested in,' " Coons said. "They’re interested in getting a real solution to the problems of our healthcare system.”


For Coons, that means providing a tax break to entice insurance companies to enter new markets – and stay where they are now. He’s working on that legislation now. He also wants to ease reporting requirements for small businesses, and wants to expand the ACA’s tax credit program for small businesses.


Delaware’s Senior Sen. Tom Carper says experts tell him that if marketplaces are stabilized, subsidies stay intact and the individual mandate is enforced, insurance premiums will go down 25-35%.


Carper has also introduced legislation to create a reinsurance program to help offset insurance companies’ biggest claims.


“The way reinsurance would work is, if you cost your insurer more than $50,000 starting 2018, 2019, 2020 – if you cost more than $50,000 a year for your insurance company under whom you’re insured between $50,000 and $500,0000 - 80% of that cost would be born by the federal government," Carper said.


Carper says people are used to the idea of reinsurance, comparing his legislation to the Medicare Part D program. That's why he thinks it could receive bipartisan support this time.


Here's Carper's bill:




Individual Health Insurance Marketplace Stabilization Act by U.S. Senator Tim Kaine on Scribd

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