Healthcare policy experts propose bipartisan ACA fixes

Document titled, Affordable Care Act
The Trump administration's "let it fail" approach to the ACA could ultimately backfire on Republicans, one expert says. (Getty/Designer491)

A bipartisan group of healthcare policy experts is pushing Congress and the Trump administration to take steps to shore up the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges after the collapse of the Senate’s efforts to repeal the law.

Their suggestions include funding cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments and continuing to push for more people to sign up through the exchanges, according to a copy of the report obtained by the Associated Press.

Though insurance industry experts have underscored how important CSR payments are to stabilizing the marketplaces, the Trump administration has threatened to stop funding the subsidies, which are at the center of a federal court case.

RELATED: Florida insurance regulators ask payers to file backup rates in case Trump administration withholds CSRs

The Department of Health and Human Services has also cut back on marketing for open enrollment, and ended contracts with two companies that helped coordinate sign-ups for ACA exchange plans in 18 cities.

However, the “let it fail” approach could backfire on Republicans, according to Lanhee Chen, who contributed to the report and worked for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.

The group of experts also calls for a some type of penalty, akin to the ACA’s individual mandate, to continue to encourage healthy people to enroll in plans, increased flexibility for states and “judicious” expansion of pretax health savings accounts.

This latest report is not the only bipartisan-created list of healthcare policy suggestions to emerge after the GOP's repeal-and-replace efforts failed. For example, the "Problem Solvers Caucus," a group of both Republican and Democratic lawmakers, have outlined solutions that include the repeal of the medical device tax and changes to the employer mandate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has signaled that he would be willing to work toward a bipartisan plan to shore up the ACA exchanges if Democrats are also willing to compromise. Yet that effort could come to late to ensure stability in the marketplaces next year.