Here's what bipartisan healthcare reform could look like: 5 notes

A Washington, D.C., think tank believes it may have cracked the code to bipartisan healthcare reform.

The Bipartisan Policy Center issued a report this month after convening policy experts, actuaries, healthcare leaders and providers, state officials, and consumer organizations. The path to reform focuses on building on today's system, a path the group chose based on voter preference. BPC conducted a poll that showed most voters preferred building on the current system over repealing the ACA or implementing a single-payer plan. The group also felt it was important to avoid major disruptions to patient care.

Here are five highlights of what the plan entails:

1. Creating a reinsurance program to help payers offset the costs of covering high-cost patients. Under the plan, this program would be funded by a $30 billion to $60 billion appropriation from the federal government and would be administered by states. 

2. Restoring cost-sharing reduction payments, which were originally part of the ACA. These payments go to payers for covering the cost-sharing portion of plans for people who earn less than 250 percent of the federal poverty level. 

3. Repealing the penalty associated with the employer mandate to provide employees health insurance. This is intended to reduce administrative and financial burdens on employers.

4. Cap hospital charges in noncompetitive markets. Hospitals in highly consolidated markets would have the opportunity to negotiate with the Federal Trade Commission to reduce consolidation. Those that opt out of negotiation would have their charges to private insurers capped.

5. Creating a Cadillac tax alternative. Instead of trying to tax high-cost employer-sponsored health plans, the proposal suggests limiting income-tax exclusions for expensive employer plans bought by people with higher incomes.

Read the full report here.

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