Why a new GOP idea won’t solve biggest problem with repealing Obamacare’s mandate

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Senator Susan Collins.

In recent days, a number of Republican senators, particularly Maine’s Susan Collins, have pushed the idea of approving so-called reinsurance funding for Obamacare as part of a deal that would repeal the law’s individual mandate. That mandate requires most people to have some form of health insurance or pay a penalty.

Collins opposed the idea of including repeal of the mandate in a pending Senate tax bill supported by GOP leaders, who are still struggling to attract the 50 Republican votes needed for passage. A House version of the tax bill does not include the mandate repeal.

But on Tuesday, she told Politico that “If it [the mandate’s repeal] is going to be included it’s essential that we mitigate the impact on premiums.”

“That includes passing the Alexander-Murray bill and also a bill that I have with Bill Nelson that would protect people with pre-existing conditions. And yet lower premiums through the use of high risk pools,” Collins said.

Collins’ bill calls for allocating $4.5 billion over two years to fund state reinsurance programs. Those programs would subsidize the cost to Obamacare plans from customers who have heavy medical needs.

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