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Sen. Nelson: Bipartisan Affordable Care Act ‘Fix’ To Get First Hearing Wednesday

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A “bi-partisan fix” to the Affordable Care Act is set to get its first hearing in the U.S. Senate Wednesday.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) is sponsoring the bill, which would create a federal health reinsurance program.

A reinsurance program is basically insurance for insurers. And it can help health insurers by spreading the cost of the riskiest patients, Nelson said in Jacksonville on Friday.

His proposed federal reinsurance program would be available to all insurance companies on federal and state exchanges. He hopes the cushion will spur them to cover more patients in more counties. The Congressional Budget Office says that could cut premiums by 13 percent in Florida.

Nelson said seven Republicans and seven Democrats began planning the compromise shortly after GOP repeal-and-replace efforts failed in July.

“We started talking about fixes that had already been done,” he said. “In the state of Alaska, because of a reinsurance fund, they lowered rates in Alaska 20 percent.”

Nelson’s bill will get its first hearing in the Senate Health Committee Wednesday, and if it’s approved, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will have to schedule it for a vote on the Senate floor.

Nelson acknowledges the bipartisan bill has a low likelihood of passing the House, but he thinks it will at least put pressure on the lower chamber to act.

Photoused under Creative Commons license. 

Ryan Benk is a former WJCT News reporter who joined the station in 2015 after working as a news researcher and reporter for NPR affiliate WFSU in Tallahassee.