Governor Kim Reynolds

Kim Reynolds is among the 21 Republican governors who are pressing Republican senators to pass the latest alternative for repealing ObamaCare.

“Right now, this is the only vehicle that we have to address ObamaCare that’s failing,” Reynolds said late this morning during her weekly statehouse news conference.

AUDIO of news conference (discussion of Graham-Cassidy bill starts at 29th minute)

The bill authored by Republican senators from South Carolina and Louisiana would send federal spending on the health care law back to the states as block grants.

“If you take a look at welfare reform in the ’80s where they gave states, through block grants, the flexibility to manage the population, they cut the rolls in half,” Reynolds said, “so it can work.”

Reynolds told reporters she’s not aiming to cut the number of Iowans enrolled in Medicaid in half, but is instead focused on stabilizing the collapsing individual insurance market. The bill pending in the U.S. Senate, though, is a “long term” fix, according to Reynolds. She and other state officials are waiting for federal approval of a short-term waiver that would redirect ObamaCare subsidies for 2018.

“I can tell you that all parties want to get to yes,” Reynolds said. “…I have to have something in place so that we can start signing people up in November.”

Iowans who quality for federal subsidies to buy private insurance will start buying 2018 policies in November. Just one company has agreed to offer policies in Iowa. The state’s insurance commissioner has proposed redirecting the federal subsidies, paying insurance companies directly for care of seriously ill customers along with higher subsidies for younger, healthy Iowans who buy insurance.

The commissioner believes those steps will help reduce overall premium spikes, plus Wellmark has offered to sell individual policies in Iowa next year if those steps are taken.