Hickenlooper, in bipartisan bromance, releases health care proposal


  • Colorado.gov
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, and Ohio Governor John Kasich, a Republican, have teamed up to draft a proposal to stabilize individual health insurance markets that, nationwide, have seen insurers drop-out and premiums go up over the past year.

Now, you might be thinking, "Hmm... health care reform... Doesn't the Republican majority in Congress still want to 'repeal and replace?'"

Ding, ding! They sure do, since it's a seven years-long promise and all, but you'll recall that despite controlling both chambers of the legislative branch with a willing executive in the White House, Republicans have failed to accomplish anything on the health care front.

In addition to embarrassing, their failure has been destructive. As the Indy has reported, all this uncertainty around policy has created instability, most acutely in the the individual market, where people who don't have employee or government sponsored insurance must buy their plans. About 13 million Americans, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, get coverage through the exchanges that were set up under the Affordable Care Act. This year, because of all the jockeying in Congress, premiums for insurances plans offered through Connect for Health Colorado, our own state exchange, are projected rise an average of 27 percent. That could be a huge hit in the wallet for the about 13,400 El Paso County residents who enroll through the exchange.

That's why governors, who have experience implementing health care policy on the state level, are taking matters into their own hands. The Hickenlooper-Kasich proposal, which has the support of six other governors, is addressed to Congressional leaders of both parties. It recommends "immediate federal action to stabilize markets," "responsible reforms that preserve recent coverage gains and control costs" and "an active federal/state partnership that is based on innovation and a shared commitment to improve overall health system performance."

Check it out yourself for the specifics.

(Don't have time to read the whole plan? Highlights are: fund cost sharing reduction payments; keep the individual mandate for now; fund outreach and enrollment efforts; and commit to federal risk sharing mechanisms.)

And, if you're just swooning at how reasonable and pragmatic and bipartisan these popular governors' partnership is, you'll be tickled to know there are, indeed, rumors that they're toying with a "unity ticket" in 2020. Each governor has been coy about it in the press, saying there are no ulterior motives to this joint health care proposal... Which is exactly what you would say if you were running for president.

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