WASHINGTON – Today, during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing with Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Governors from across the country, Senator Maggie Hassan discussed bipartisan health care solutions to stabilize health insurance markets and lower health care costs. Senator Hassan also participated yesterday in a bipartisan HELP hearing with state insurance commissioners.
Senator Hassan began by thanking the governors “for offering the different perspectives of your states,” adding, “one of the things that I think is so useful about these hearings – yesterday we heard from insurance commissioners, today we’re hearing from you – you all are actually on the front lines making things work and I think sometimes when we move out of our ideological debates and into problem solving we actually can find a way forward.”
Senator Hassan highlighted the heroin, fentanyl, and opioid crisis that New Hampshire and other states across the country are facing, and asked Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker about the importance of having stable markets, participation in the insurance market, and a requirement that insurance covers essential health benefits such as substance use disorder in terms of standing up additional treatment capacity. Governor Baker noted the critical role that widespread health insurance coverage plays in providing treatment and recovery services, saying “I do think that having a system where, for the most part, coverage wasn’t the first question that people had to deal with in respect to accessing treatment made a big difference.”
Senator Hassan also discussed the importance of reinsurance for stabilizing the individual health care insurance market and the critical role that federal investments can have in helping states implement reinsurance programs. Asked if the federal government would save money by investing in reinsurance, Governor Baker said “I would say yeah… if you reduce the cost of coverage, then that is going to impact all of the other things that the federal government puts money into to pay for the cost of coverage.”
Senator Hassan is an original cosponsor of the Individual Health Insurance Marketplace Improvement Act to help stabilize the individual health care marketplace and lower premiums. The legislation would provide certainty in the marketplace by creating a permanent reinsurance program for the individual health insurance market, similar to the successful programs used to lower premiums and spur competition in the Medicare Part D program. Senator Hassan is also an original cosponsor of the Marketplace Certainty Act, which would help stabilize the individual market by providing certainty around cost-sharing reduction payments.