He says he doesn’t want to be a naysayer, but the ongoing discussion on health care legislation isn’t making Sen. Chuck Grassley optimistic that Congress will reach a consensus on overhauling the Affordable Care Act.
“I’ve been quoted so much I can’t change my quotes. I’m pessimistic,” Grassley told reporters Wednesday. “I don’t desire to be pessimistic. I desire to pass a bill.”
Talk about a “Plan B” health care proposal from a bipartisan group of senators isn’t doing anything to make him more optimistic.
The Bloomberg news service reported that more than a half dozen Republican and Democratic senators have been working on a compromise that creates a reinsurance fund and authorizes cost-sharing payments for insurers so they don’t have to increase premium costs for covering a sicker pool of customers.
“Everything I’ve heard from (Senate Minority Leader Chuck) Schumer is that Democrats aren’t supposed to play ball with Republicans, so I think a ‘Plan B’ is dreaming,” Grassley said.
There’s also talk that a new version of the health care plan will leave some Obamacare taxes in place. As much as he would like to see those repealed because it’s a promise the GOP made, Grassley said it might make it easier to “to get the necessary votes to make up for the broken promises of Obamacare.”
Grassley mentioned the possibility that no insurance company would offer coverage to 72,000 Iowans who buy individual health insurance plans. Minnesota-based Medica said in June, however, that it will sell plans statewide for the 2018 coverage year. But it also said the average proposed rate increase would be 43.5 percent.
Grassley also is concerned about a proposal by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to allow insurance companies to sell plans that don’t comply with Affordable Care Act requirements as long as at least one plan in a state’s federally regulated exchange marketplace offers guaranteed access to coverage.
“I support insurance mandating covering pre-existing” conditions," he said, adding that the Cruz plan would undermine that requirement, likely making coverage for those people with pre-existing health conditions more expensive.