McSally in bipartisan plan to strengthen health insurance

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - While efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare were failing in the Senate, a group of Republican and Democrat House members quietly huddled to try to make health insurance markets stronger. 

Arizona Congresswoman Martha McSally was part of that effort.  The bipartisan group thinks it will give you a better chance of getting covered at reasonable cost.

While the Senate struggled and failed to repeal Obamacare, Martha McSally and a nearly evenly split group of 43 Republicans and Democrats worked on a compromise plan to make insurance markets stronger.

She says, “We wanted to break through the fever and show we think there are some solutions that could provide some stabilization right now.  Because in the midst of these debates we have people in our communities that we represent who have less choices, higher costs and we've got to do something to stabilize it while we debate the other issues."

The bipartisan group calls itself the problem solvers caucus.  Their proposal is designed to give insurers enough confidence to offer more options and lower premiums.

The plan requires premium subsidies for low income families but gives Congress responsibility to budget for them.

It creates a state fund to reduce premium costs.

Requires employers to provide insurance if they have at least 500 full time workers.  Noe the threshold is 50 workers working at least 30 hours a week.

The proposal also repeals the 2.3% sales tax on medical devices.

Laura Ciscomani of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce says making companies with just 50 workers offer insurance makes bosses hold their staff at 49, hurting workers, and growth.

"They've had to make a decision of whether they grow past that 50 employee mark; whether they keep people on full time employment or they scale back and put them on part time employment."

McSally says the Problem Solvers caucus is working to have colleagues in Congress consider the changes in time to encourage insurance companies to offer more options by the time new sign ups begin in November.

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