Tuesday, March 13, 2018 12:47 AM

BIDS TO CURB HEALTH CARE COSTS OFFER LITTLE MORE THAN TALK

WASHINGTON (AP) - It started as a bipartisan attempt to curb soaring health care premiums. But Congress' effort to stabilize the nation's insurance markets is faltering amid escalating demands by each party and erratic positions by President Donald Trump. Democrats want bigger federal subsidies for consumers under President Barack Obama's health care law while Republicans, still fighting that statute, aim to relax its coverage requirements and win abortion restrictions. The bickering could collapse the whole effort, with each side blaming the other when next year's expected higher insurance rates are announced - just weeks before Election Day, on Nov. 6. Last week, Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, a lead Democratic negotiator, called GOP demands on abortion limitations "a complete nonstarter." A spokeswoman for Rep. Ryan Costello, R-Pa., sponsor of the House GOP package, said if Democrats want to oppose the effort "by playing abortion politics, then shame on them." Some Democrats think they'd reap political gains if the talks collapse since polls show the health care statute is widely popular and the public would largely fault Republicans if consumer costs spiral skyward. "Either Republicans help stabilize the market or they own these premium and deductible increases," said Rep. Kurt Schrader, ...

News source: Times Free Press

See also: Trauger