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Shaheen: Trump sowing Obamacare uncertainty

By DAN TUOHY
New Hampshire Union Leader

July 18. 2017 12:10PM




U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, accuses President Donald Trump of deliberately sowing uncertainty in the health insurance market, which prompted a sharp rebuttal from the Senate Majority Whip.

Shaheen took to the Senate floor today to request unanimous consent in an uphill bid for consideration of her “Marketplace Certainty Act,” legislation for cost-sharing reduction payments under the Affordable Care Act. The GOP leadership in the Senate has blocked two previous efforts to move the bill forward.

Shaheen said the cost-sharing payments are designed to help low-income afford premiums and care. She said similar cost-sharing reduction language was in the GOP repeal-and-replacement bill that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., which, without the votes, he decided to scrap in favor of a straight repeal of Obamacare.

Shaheen said repeal means millions of Americans losing their health insurance, with likelihood of rural hospitals, including possible facilities in the Granite State, being forced to curtail care and potentially close.

“We can address the uncertainty by being clear that we’re not going to replace the Affordable Care Act,” she said.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, the Senate Majority Whip, responded to Shaheen’s floor remarks by citing a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation that the cost-sharing reductions were a payment to insurance companies.

“What my friend from New Hampshire is proposing here is an insurance company bailout,” he said. “I know they’d like to blame this on President Trump,but this is built into the very structure of the Affordable Care Act, and it isn’t working.”


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