Insurer Trade Group Lists Its Demands Of Republicans In Obamacare Repeal Fight

December 7, 2016 12:29 p.m.

A major trade group for insurers took the unusual step of going public with what it is demanding of Republicans considering a repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

In a list of proposals released Tuesday, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) said that in light of “significant changes” the Affordable Care Act will see, the group was highlighting the “key principles that, if followed, will help ensure a stable, competitive market that delivers real choice, high quality, and affordable care.” Their requests anticipate a GOP Obamacare repeal maneuver that health care policy experts warn will destabilize the individual insurance market, even if lawmakers include a delay of the repeal provisions in the bill they push early next year.

“We still have more questions than answers,” AHIP president and CEO Marilyn Tavenner told the New York Times. “We don’t want to disrupt individuals who are relying on our coverage.”

The list includes some short-term measures that AHIP says could help ease the transition period between the repeal bill, which GOP leaders say will be their first order of business in the new Congress, and the Obamacare replacement Republicans promise they will cobble together. AHIP is asking for a extension on their filing deadlines for 2018 plans, now in the spring of 2017, when Congress is unlikely to have a replacement ready. They are also asking for a continuation of federal subsidies — currently the target of a House GOP lawsuit — to help keep out-of-pockets costs for consumers low.

Additionally, AHIP said that funding for “temporary, transitional programs, including cost-sharing reductions and reinsurance” would send “strong signals that Congress and the new Administration are committed to market stability and consumer choice.”

Longer term, the insurer group is also lobbying for the sort of regulatory changes akin to those they asked for under Obamacare, when even its proponents acknowledged it was in need of improvements. AHIP would like to see stricter standards for special enrollment periods and more flexibility in how insurers design their plans.

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