Democrats Working on Plan to Avert Rise in Healthcare Costs

Democrats in Congress in recent weeks have been considering a plan to avoid a sudden insurance premium increase, Politico reports.

The proposal would temporarily extend Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies included in this year’s financial aid package, which would delay the rise in insurance premiums expected to affect 13 million Americans, but it would not make them permanent. This could prevent Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., from supporting the plan, as he has pushed for every program included in the reconciliation bill to be permanent.

“Everyone recognizes that it needs to be done,” said one person, who was not named by Politico, who has knowledge of the talks about the plan. “But to get it done under our current understanding of the framework, he’d have to make an exception.”

In an interview on Wednesday, Manchin said he’s concerned about inflation and suggested that if the enhanced subsidies were extended, then the focus should be on low-income families.

“The main thing here is the means-testing,” he said, according to Business Insider. “We should be helping the people who really need it the most and are really having the hardest time.”

He added, “With healthcare, people need help. They really do.”

A spokesperson for the White House declined to comment on the discussions but did express broad support for the subsidies.

“We do not negotiate in public,” said deputy press secretary Andrew Bates. “But the president has also expressed his strong support for continuing the ACA improvements that have lowered premiums for, and expanded coverage to, millions of people.”

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