Nelson urges bipartisan fix to Affordable Care Act
TALLAHASSEE — Congress should be working on a bipartisan proposal to improve the Affordable Care Act and not spending its time working on repealing the federal health care law, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Tuesday afternoon.
“People are coming up and begging me, ‘Please don’t take away my health care’ “ said Nelson in a speech on the U.S. Senate floor. “We shouldn’t continue to waste our time with this health care bill that only takes away health care and charges more for less coverage.”
Nelson, a former Florida Insurance Commissioner, said that no insurance company wanted to offer homeowners insurance in Florida following Hurricane Andrew, a category 5 hurricane that pummeled South Florida in 1992, leaving $26 billion in insured damages.
To abate a homeowners insurance crisis, Florida established a reinsurance fund to insure the insurance companies in case of catastrophic losses. Nelson suggested that the same be done for health insurance. He filed legislation to establish a permanent reinsurance program to help stabilize the individual health insurance marketplace. Specifically, the reinsurance fund would reimburse insurers 80 percent of claims ranging from $50,000 to $500,000 from 2018 until 2020. Starting in 2021, the fund would cover 80 percent of claims ranging from $100,000 to $500,000.
“The same principle with hurricanes can apply to health insurance,” Nelson said. “Create a reinsurance fund that would insure the health insurance company against the catastrophic loss which, occasionally they will have,” Nelson said, adding that the move could reduce the costs of health insurance policies sold on the federal exchange by as much as 13 percent in Florida, alone.
Senate Republicans have spent the last two months trying to craft a bill that would repeal the federal health care law, often referred to as Obamacare. The effort has sputtered GOP leaders try to juggle objections from both moderate and conservative members.