A Congressional Budget Office report on the long-term financial effects of the bipartisan healthcare bill put forth by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) last week found that while it would reduce the deficit by $3.8 billion, it wouldn’t resolve the main issue splitting the parties on Obamacare: rising premiums.
The bill, commonly known as Alexander-Murray because it was mainly drafted by Sen. Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and Sen. Patty Murray, the committee’s top-ranking Democrat, would fund cost-sharing reduction subsidies for the rest of the year and for the next two years. It would allow states to make changes to Obamacare more quickly and would allow more people to buy “copper” plans, which have lower premiums and higher deductibles.
The cost-sharing reduction subsidies are already in the Congressional Budget Office baseline, even though President Trump ended them earlier this month. Therefore the $18 billion spent for 2018 and 2019, and the $99 billion over the 2018 to 2027 period, is assumed to be zero for the purposes of the analysis.
The Congressional Budget Office also assumed that the bill would not be enacted until after Nov. 1, when open enrollment begins. The legislation therefore would not have any effect on premiums because the rates would already be locked in, according to the report.
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