The text of the newest version of the Senate healthcare bill contains a provision aimed at one Republican holdout: Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
The Alaska senator would see a guarantee of funding for her state to combat high premiums, in a clear attempt to win over the senator who has been vocal in opposition to various elements of the bill.
The provision has to do with the state stability fund, a pot of money that would be given to states to help deal with high insurance premiums and encourage people to sign up for coverage.
Here’s the piece pertaining to Alaska (emphasis added):
“The Administrator shall determine an appropriate procedure for providing and distributing funds under this subsection that includes reserving an amount equal to 1 per cent of the amount appropriated under paragraph (1) for a calendar year for providing and distributing funds to health insurance issuers in States where the cost of insurance premiums are at least 75 per cent higher than the national average.”
A report from the Department of Health and Human Services showed that pre-tax credit premiums in the 39 states with federal-run individual marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act will average $US476 a month in 2017. In Alaska, the average monthly cost for premiums is an average of $US1,041 for 2017, more than twice the national average.
No other state would qualify for the 75% higher than average provisions, based on the HHS report.
Based on the amount of money set aside through the state stability fund, Alaska would likely end up with hundreds of millions of dollars annually toward its health insurance markets.
But even with the addition, Murkowski’s support for the legislation remains in question. She has also expressed opposition to the cuts to Medicaid and a freeze in funds for Planned Parenthood, neither of which changed from the original version.
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