The Hill: Murkowski pushes back on ObamaCare 'scare tactics'

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is pushing back on Democratic attacks that she is undercutting ObamaCare, saying opponents are simply using “scare tactics.”

In a question-and-answer video posted on her YouTube page, Murkowski defended her vote for tax reform this month. Murkowski backed a bill that includes language repealing ObamaCare’s individual mandate.

“I think it’s important that people really look to what is included in this bill when it relates to the Affordable Care Act and to get beyond the scare tactics and the rhetoric that is designed to just instill fear and paranoia in people,” Murkowski said.

She notes that the only provision in the tax bill related to ObamaCare is the repeal of the requirement to have coverage or pay a fine.

“What this bill does is says if you can’t afford health-care coverage, or if you don’t see that value in it, we’re not going to fine you,” she said. “It doesn’t impact the ACA in any other way. If you receive a subsidy for your health-care insurance before this tax bill passes you will still be able to receive a subsidy after.”

Murkowski was one of three Republican senators who voted down a Republican ObamaCare repeal attempt over the summer, which included repeal of the mandate. She has drawn sharp criticism from Democrats this time for voting for the repeal of the mandate.

Opponents of her move argue that eliminating the mandate will have wider impacts, and that it could lead to a spike in premiums or insurers dropping out of the market once an incentive for healthy people to enroll is removed.

The Congressional Budget Office finds that premiums will increase 10 percent and 13 million fewer people will have coverage over a decade if the mandate is repealed.

Murkowski argued that subsidies available under the health-care law will encourage many people to remain enrolled in ObamaCare.

She also touted a bipartisan bill from Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) as one that would help stabilize the market by providing funds for key insurer payments.

“It is my understanding that as part of the negotiation, not only has the Senate leadership committed that we will advance Alexander-Murray, but the president has indicated that support as well, so prior to the end of this year, I think we can anticipate that we will see that piece inserted as well,” Murkowski said.

Many House Republicans, though, are opposed to the bill, raising questions on if it can pass that chamber.

Experts say that Alexander-Murray alone is also not enough to counteract the premium increases from repealing the mandate, and that additional funding would be needed to bring down premiums.

By:  Peter Sullivan
Source: The Hill