Healthcare risk sharing could ease the fears of a risk-averse Congress

One of the biggest sticking points as Congress moves to repeal ObamaCare is how to handle the issue of individuals with pre-existing conditions. Some Republicans have even pledged to vote against any repeal and replace effort that fails to address this problem.

Yet there must be a better way than the current top-down, heavy-handed approach that has led to skyrocketing premiums in the private market. Thankfully, an amendment to the American Health Care Act announced this morning may provide a bridge over the current repeal and replace divide.

The amendment would allow the secretary of Health and Human Services to use $15 billion to set up an “invisible risk-sharing program,” with states having the option to take over the program in later years. The secretary would have a lot of discretion to administer the program, but if set up correctly, this program has significant potential to lower premiums across the private market, help those with pre-existing conditions, and even reduce the number of people without insurance.

In fact, according to a new report commissioned by the Foundation for Government Accountability, an invisible risk-sharing program that follows a few simple principles could lower premiums by up to 31 percent, cover those with pre-existing conditions, and reduce the number of people without health insurance by up to 2 million.