Faso backs bipartisan House proposal to mend Obamacare

Rep. John Faso was among 43 House members from both parties supporting a set of ideas this week to improve the Affordable Care Act and stabilize the individual market for health insurance under the terms of that 2010 law, which Republicans in Congress struggled and failed to repeal and replace this year.

Faso, a Republican freshman whose district includes Ulster and Sullivan counties, voiced support for the repair plan as a member of the so-called Problem Solvers Caucus, led by Republican Rep. Tom Reed of New York and Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey. Their proposals included preserving the federal payments that help lower-income people pay their deductibles and co-pays – funding that President Trump has threatened to squelch – and including that funding in the spending bills that Congress approves each year.

The bipartisan plan would also repeal a 2.3 percent sales tax on medical devices and raise the threshold for requiring businesses to give their full-time workers health insurance, applying that mandate to companies with more than 500 employees instead of 50.

“The insurance coverage crisis is a looming healthcare disaster for millions of Americans, and I am proud to join my colleagues in supporting bipartisan solutions to bring down costs and keep coverage options accessible,” Faso said in a press release about the bipartisan agreement on Monday. He had supported the repeal-and-replace bill that the House narrowly approved by a 217-213 vote in May.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and other Democrats have long advocated repairing flaws in the Affordable Care Act, describing it as complex legislation that was bound to need adjustments in the same way that Medicare and Medicaid did after being created in the 1960s. That approach may now gain traction with the collapse of the GOP repeal-and-replace legislation in the Senate and the approaching deadline for insurers to set premiums for 2018. Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee announced this week he will hold bipartisan hearings on bolstering the individual insurance markets.

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    Chris McKenna

    Chris McKenna covers Orange County government and politics for the Times Herald-Record. He has been a reporter at the newspaper since 1999. Read Full
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