Group Of House Dems Unveil Proposals To Tweak Obamacare

Bill Clark/CQPHO

A group of 10 rank-and-file House Democrats released a white paper Wednesday with broad-stroke proposals to tweak the Affordable Care Act, as Senate Republicans enter their final crunch to pass an Obamacare repeal bill.

The proposals in the white paper range from codifying the insurer subsidies that President Trump has threatened to halt, to a Medicare buy-in for older consumers, to moving open enrollment to tax season, when Americans tend to be less cash-strapped than the current post-holidays enrollment deadline.

“We know that the Affordable Care Act has challenges that need to be addressed to expand access to health insurance and bring down costs, but the Republican proposal is not the right answer,” said Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH) (pictured above), one of the House Dems, said in a statement with its release. The other House Democrats are Reps. Kurt Schrader (OR), Ami Bera (CA) Peter Welch (VT), Scott Peters (CA), Terri Sewell (AL), Kathleen Rice (NY), Jim Himes (CT), Ron Kind (WI) and Suzan DelBene (WA).

House Democratic leadership has not explicitly endorsed the proposals, but a Democratic aide told Vox that Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was generally supportive of the discussions.

As their own Obamacare replacement bill has stalled due to intra-conference divisions, Republicans have claimed that Democrats aren’t interested in addressing some of the weak spots in the Affordable Care Act or that Democrats would be pushing a single payer model. Some Republicans have floated the idea of working with Dems if their effort has failed, only to have that idea shot down by other GOP lawmakers.

On the Senate side, a handful of bills introduced by Democrats, including Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Tim Kaine (D-VA), have pushed for adjustments to the Affordable Care Act. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sent Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) a letter Monday telling him that Democrats are willing to work with the GOP on these and other ACA fixes.

Read the white paper from the House Democrats below: