Sen. Johnson: Pushes for more health care reforms on MSNBC

Contact:
Ben Voelkel

WASHINGTON – During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Meet The Press Daily” Thursday, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) explained why he is seeking reforms to increase access to affordable health care in exchange for funding insurance cost-sharing reductions (CSRs).

Excerpts from Senator Johnson’s appearance are below, and video can be found here.

“The bottom line is the insurance companies will get paid either way. The fix is already in. They either get the cost-sharing reductions, or they will get increased premiums and the American taxpayer will be out … another $194 billion. So I think it’s a legitimate point of view on the part of Republicans to really resist trying to fund these unsustainable markets. That’s a legitimate point of view, but the reality is, if we don’t fund these cost-sharing reductions, premiums would increase and people that are working hard, those individuals that don’t get subsidies (will face unaffordable premium increases).”

On if he supports the Alexander-Murray agreement
“No. What I’m for is in exchange for cost-sharing reductions getting some real reforms.”

“It’s a pretty easy lift to convince all Democrats to fund this faulty architecture. It’s more difficult in the House.”

Background
Sen. Johnson is working to build support in Congress for several reforms, including the following:

1. Improved price transparency—Require the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to publicize pricing and cost information that it receives from providers in a format that is appropriate and useful to consumers;
2. Expanded insurance options—Allow all Americans (not just those under 30) to purchase catastrophic care plans, roll back the 90-day limit on short-term, limited duration plans (restoring the 364 day limit), deem that these plans satisfy the individual mandate under Obamacare, and allow greater state flexibility through 1332 waivers;
3. Strengthened consumer-directed plans—Expand the use of consumer-directed accounts to purchase expanded insurance options, and expand tax free contributions;
4. Reduced mandates—Delay the enforcement of the employer mandate to prevent 90,000 businesses from being assessed $5 billion in fines due to Obamacare’s mandates on employers; waive enforcement of the individual mandate for plan year 2017;
5. Lower premiums—Require insurers to roll back premium increases announced and justified by the anticipated ending of unlawful CSR payments.

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