Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Sens. Lee and Hatch Not Supportive Of Plan To Continue Obamacare Subsidies

Vekeo screenshot and Brian Grimmett
Utah Senators Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch

Utah’s Senators are not supporting a plan in Washington that would continue subsidies that bring down the cost of health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. 

The new proposal doesn’t have a name yet but was released in the Senate on Thursday. It comes from Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander from Tennessee and Democrat Sen. Patty Murray from Washington State. It would allow states flexibility to offer different types of insurance and would require the federal government to continue paying cost-sharing subsidies to insurers for two years. Those are long-standing payments that lower insurance rates for some people with Obamacare plans. President Trump stopped those payments a week ago.  

Lee opposes the plan and Hatch has not taken a final position on it. On Thursday afternoon it had 24 cosponsors in the Senate – half Republicans and half Democrats.  

Utah insurers Select Health and University of Utah Health Plans are offering insurance on the Obamacare exchange next year. But they already set their rates, and open enrollment starts next month. According to Tanji Northrup from the Utah Insurance Department, that’s probably too soon for insurers to change the cost of premiums for individuals. She says if this legislation advances, people would more likely see their rates lowered in 2019. 

KUER is listener-supported public radio. Support this work by making a donation today.