By Catherine Candisky
Gov. John Kasich says a bipartisan health-care plan he's been working on with Democratic Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is nearly finished.
"We're getting very close. I just talked to my guys today, men and women who are working on this with (Hickenlooper's) people, and we think we'll have some specifics here, I actually think we could have it within a week," Kasich said in a Monday joint interview with Hickenlooper on Colorado Public Radio.
Kasich told the radio station that the agreement will be sent to other governors in hope that they also will sign on to the proposal.
The governors could present their plan in September to the Senate Health Committee when the panel holds hearings on stabilizing marketplaces where people purchase individual health insurance plans following the collapse of GOP efforts to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's 2010 Affordable Care Act.
Kasich and Hickenlooper declined to discuss details of their proposal except that they are focused on stabilizing insurance markets and the mandate that employers with more than 50 employees provide health coverage. On the latter, Kasich said, he and Hickenlooper disagree on the mandate but agree on increasing the number of employees from 50 that small businesses owners argue deters hiring.
The plan will not address whether to maintain Medicaid expansion which both governors also support. Kasich told the radio station that discussion should wait until other issues are addressed.
A spokesman for Kasich declined to comment Tuesday about the interview.
"We have additional planning discussions on the books this week, so we're making good progress. It's still too early for any further specifics," said press secretary Jon Keeling said in an e-mail.
Kasich and Hickenlooper outlined guiding principles in June aimed at preserving coverage while lowering health-care costs. In addition to stabilizing insurance markets, they included giving states flexibility to implement their own reforms and reducing federal regulations.
Senate hearings will be held Sept. 6 and 7, featuring state insurance commissioners the first day and governors the next. Names have not been released.
(c)2017 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)