Funding for cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers for 2017, 2018, and 2019. These payments help cover the costs of insurance companies providing cheaper health care for low- and moderate-income Americans.
Funding for state Obamacare outreach.
Expanded eligibility for the law’s catastrophic plans, which are currently limited to people under the age of 30. These plans provide coverage of essential health benefits at a low premium, but with a very high deductible.
Some additional state flexibility under the 1332 waiver program including streamlined approvals and a longer waiver length.
Senators Alexander and Murray announced on Thursday that there were 24 co-sponsors for the bill, 12 from each party. So, while there are 11 Republicans plus Alexander willing to put their name on the bill, it still means that Republican supporters will have work to do to ensure passage. Even though the bill has 60 votes with all the Democrats united behind it, it is unlikely that GOP leadership will put a bill on the Senate floor that has the support of only 12 of their members. And then, even if the bill gets out of the Senate, the House would have to agree to it. President Trump has signaled support for the proposal.
The Senate passed a FY2018 Senate Budget last night, in a vote of 51-49. One key provision would allow Pentagon spending to be increased to $640 billion in FY 2018, without having to be offset, as long as Congress can separately agree on a deal to lift the spending caps. There has long been a push by Members of Congress to increase defense spending, and Democrats (whose votes are needed in the Senate for any appropriations bills) have been pushing for corresponding increases in non-defense spending. This amendment is an attempt to “sweeten” the package with hopes of making it acceptable to House Republicans to avoid a conference committee and speed consideration of a tax overhaul. As a reminder, the House and the Senate must agree on the same budget to allow Congress to use the Reconciliation process to pass tax reform. Reconciliation bills must reduce the deficit and only need 51 votes to pass the Senate.