Senate bill contains $50B to stabilize ObamaCare markets

The Senate Republican healthcare reform bill would appropriate $50 billion over four years to try to stabilize ObamaCare’s exchanges.

Republican senators agree that the insurance markets are collapsing because of ObamaCare, but there have been disagreements over whether the markets need to be stabilized before the law is repealed.

The stabilization money, combined with the continuation of ObamaCare’s cost-sharing reduction subsidies through 2019, could lead some conservatives to say the bill keeps too much of ObamaCare.

Before the bill was even released, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said the stabilization funding was a “new entitlement” that he opposed. Paul has yet to comment on the full version.

According to the draft of the bill, the stabilization money is meant “to fund arrangements with health insurance issuers to address coverage and access disruption and respond to urgent healthcare needs within states.”

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) has been the most vocal proponent of making sure the insurance markets are stabilized. After the bill was released, Johnson said he wasn’t sure it would go far enough.

“I would say it’s trying to address and fix some of the mess, just some of the mess, created by ObamaCare. But that’s my concern. I’m not sure it’s fixing enough,” said Johnson, adding the he will study the bill more closely before deciding on how he will vote.

Many insurance plans are already planning large premium hikes for the ObamaCare exchanges or are completely exiting the marketplaces next year amid growing uncertainty over the future of the law and mounting financial losses.