WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) applauded reports of a bipartisan healthcare deal struck by leaders of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, calling the deal a good first step toward making sure Ohioans don’t see the cost of their insurance rise, and called on leadership to take up the bill so Congress can stabilize the health insurance market and use that bipartisan momentum to work together on other measures to improve healthcare, like bringing down the cost of prescription drugs.
“This is exactly how the Senate should work for those we serve – coming together to prevent working Ohio families from paying more for the healthcare they need,” said Brown. “The deal announced today is the first step in making our healthcare system work better for working people in Ohio. We need to continue working together to build on this step and bring down costs.”
Last week after President Trump signed an executive order to stop critical payments to Ohio insurers, known as cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments, Brown called on Congress to pass his legislation that would clarify current law and make the payments permanent. Uncertainty over whether or not the Administration will continue these payments has forced some insurers – like Anthem – to pull out of Ohio markets. Brown has cosponsored legislation, the Marketplace Certainty Act, which would help stabilize health insurance markets by clarifying the law that CSR payments should be permanent and expanding CSR payments to cover more Ohioans.
Brown also applauded news that the bipartisan deal announced today will reinstate funding for so-called “navigators” that help Ohioans sign up for health insurance. Last month, Brown called on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to reinstate this funding.
Brown has also offered legislation to make improvements to the Affordable Care Act by adding a public option to the individual marketplaces so all consumers can access an affordable plan no matter where they live, while adding competition and lowering costs. He also introduced a package of proposals to bring down the skyrocketing price of prescription drugs, one of the major cost drivers in the healthcare system, including a bill to crack down on pharmaceutical companies who spike prices overnight. Brown’s proposals have been called, “just about every policy idea drug lobbyists hate.”
In September, Brown and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) asked former Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price to work with them to fix the healthcare system so it keeps people healthy, rather than just treating them when they are sick.