A bipartisan proposal to calm churning health insurance markets would slash the federal deficit by nearly $4 billion in the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office announced Wednesday.
The CBO determined the Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act, sponsored by Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, would shrink the deficit by $3.8 billion between 2018 and 2027 without significantly reducing the amount of people receiving health insurance.
The bill's main goal is to stabilize insurance markets by restoring payments to insurers for copays and deductibles abruptly terminated by President Donald Trump.
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It also would allow for broader availability of low-premium plans.
Earlier Republican efforts to repeal "Obamacare" would have made millions uninsured.
The CBO score comes as consumers can now begin previewing 2018 plans and premiums for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, even as President Donald Trump continues his push to dismantle the Obama-era law.
Open enrollment begins Nov. 1.
Officials at the Health and Human Services department said Wednesday that plans and premiums for the coming year were posted on HealthCare.gov. Starting next week, new customers can begin submitting applications, and returning ones can make changes to their coverage. Open enrollment will end early, on Dec. 15, about half the time allotted under Barack Obama's administration.
The Trump administration's launch comes after the president abruptly pulled the plug on federal payments that reimburse insurers for reduced copays and deductibles they're required to provide to people of modest means. That exposes insurers to a potential $1 billion loss for the remainder of this year, and state regulators have been approving premium increases for next year to compensate.