AZ representative working on new health care deal - Tucson News Now

AZ representative working on new health care deal

(Source: Raycom News Network) (Source: Raycom News Network)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Arizona Sen. John McCain, a few days before voting "no" to stop the repeal and replacement bills to end the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion, chided his fellow members for not even trying to reach a bi-partisan consensus.

McCain has let it be known he is not a fan of the ACA, dubbed Obamacare, but at the same time he says he felt the Senate would be better served by reaching across the aisle to Democrats to find something acceptable to him and the American public.

Polls show he's on the right track. As many as 77 percent of voters in a recent CNN poll want a bipartisan deal.

And now that appears to be what Congressional District 2 Representative Martha McSally is looking for as well.

As a member of the Congressional Problem Solver Caucus, 20 Democrats and 20 Republicans have been working quietly in the past few weeks to hammer out a plan which takes some GOP ideas and some Democratic ideas and melds them into a plan to salvage health care.

In a recent news release, McSally outlined the plan that she says is not about saving the ACA or killing the ACA or scoring political points but about salvaging the individual market from collapse.

The plan does not eliminate the employer mandate but increases the ceiling to companies with more than 500 employees and a 40-hour work week.

It repeals the Medical Device Tax, which is used in part to fund the ACA.

It creates a "stability fund" to assist those with pre-existing conditions although it does not say how big that fund will be.

Whether the plan has a chance of passage or being introduced in the US Congress is not known.

PSC doc 07282017 1200pm by Tucson News Now on Scribd

"I think this position, our paper shows we can break common ground,"  McSally said. "We can break through gridlock."

But the caucus did not reach a consensus on the individual mandate so it does not appear in the paper.

The group of 43 had to reach a 75 percent agreement threshold in order for it to appear in the position paper.

McSally agrees the whole process could be shut down by Congress and may not go anywhere but she believes its a powerful caucus. 

The plan would shore up the individual markets which are unstable right now and give consumers and insurance companies so stability.

Those companies are preparing for the 2018 insurance markets and exchanges, so having a bipartisan agreement would give so assurances that could result in smaller premium increases. 

In some cases, consumers have only one plan to choose from and must pay whatever the market dictates or go without. 

In Arizona, according to McSally, 14 of the 15 counties have only one choice and as many as 25,000 customers across the county will have no choices unless the market turns around. 

Still she says this is not about propping up Obamacare.

"This is not about saving Obamacare, this is not about repealing it outright," she said. "This is about finding middle ground."

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