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Rep. Thomas Suozzi touts Obamacare fixes

Congressman Tom Suozzi announced that he is introducing

Congressman Tom Suozzi announced that he is introducing bipartisan legislation with Congressman Lee Zeldin that would designate the George Washington Spy Trail on Long Island as a National Historic Trail on July 29, 2017 in Huntington. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A bipartisan group of House members on Monday proposed fixes to the Affordable Care Act that they said would stabilize insurance markets and provide key concessions to Republicans and Democrats.

The Problem Solvers Caucus, with 22 members each from the major parties, said it reached a consensus this weekend on several elements of healthcare reform, following the Senate’s failure early Friday to repeal major components of the ACA, or Obamacare.

The bill failed when three Republicans joined all Democratic senators in opposition.

The House Problem Solvers Caucus plan focuses on items that previously have received some level of bipartisan support.

As a first priority, the caucus wants congressional committees to fund cost-sharing subsidies to insurers that aid low-income Obamacare recipients. President Donald Trump has threatened to end the payments in an effort to impact the market and force lawmakers to pass a broader repeal.

“It’s irresponsible for anyone to say ‘Let it fail,” Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), a vice-chairman of the Problem Solvers Caucus, said Monday outside Glen Cove Hospital, where he held an event to tout the group’s proposals.

The caucus plan also would create a dedicated “stability” fund that states can use to reduce Obamacare premiums; repeal the medical device tax; and raise the threshold for the size of companies that must provide healthcare to staff — from those with 50 or more employees to 500 or more.

Problem Solvers Caucus chairs, Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning) Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) are attempting to gain wider support for the proposals.

But Suozzi said he believes the commitment of more than 40 members is a significant start.

“Having this bloc of votes sends a very strong message that we can move this process forward,” Suozzi said. “People are desperate for people to work together.”

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