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Brown Supports Latest Health Care Compromise, But Portman Doesn't

Ohio U.S. Sentators Rob Portman, left, and Sherrod Brown.

Ohio’s two senators agree premiums will go up if a bipartisan compromise on the Affordable Care Act doesn’t get through Congress. But Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman don’t agree on whether that compromise should pass.

The Murray-Alexander plan would extend for two years the federal subsidies that act as a kind of rebate to insurance companies, covering deductibles and copayments for lower-income people. President Trump has suspended the subsidies, calling them a “bailout.”

Without them, everyone who buys insurance on the individual exchanges will likely pay more.

Portman says the Murray-Alexander bill doesn’t do enough.

“I was not opposed to the administration continuing the payments,” Portman says. “But if we’re going to legislate on it, it should be something that makes a difference in a significant way.”

Brown says the compromise is an important step.

“It stabilizes the insurance markets, it brings in more young healthy people into the insurance pools,” Brown say. “We need to go further to keep prices down by going after drug companies that over-charge and fleece the public.” 

The compromise—introduced by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.)—would give states more flexibility under the Affordable Care Act and allow more people to buy low-cost plans. And it restores funding for advertising and outreach for ACA enrollment, which the Trump administration had cut.

The bill will require 60 votes to pass the Senate, but its fate in the U.S. House and with Trump are even less certain.