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Protect Our Care Statement on CBO Scoring of Alexander-Murray

In response to the CBO’s analysis of the bipartisan Alexander-Murray legislation, which found that the bill would reduce the federal deficit by $3.8 billion without coverage losses, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“Today’s CBO report only reinforces that passing Alexander-Murray is a no-brainer,” said Woodhouse. “CBO previously found that President Trump’s health care sabotage of cost-sharing reduction funds would result in premiums going up 20 percent, one million people losing their coverage and the nation’s debt increasing by nearly $200 billion. Alexander-Murray would provide deficit savings and maintain coverage for the American people.

“If the reasons Alexander-Murray has gained such strong bipartisan support in the Senate weren’t clear before, they certainly are now. It’s time for President Trump and House and Senate Republican leaders to get on board and do the right thing for the American people by passing Alexander-Murray without delay.”

By the Headlines: Trump’s Health Care Sabotage Gets Wide, Critical Notice

As the fallout from President Trump’s decision to cancel cost-sharing reduction fundingcontinues, states are forced to make needless increases in out-of-pocket costs to compensate. And people are beginging to notice.

From Alaska, where premiums slated to drop are now rising, to Pennsylvania, where rates are going up an obscene 30 percent, the consequences have been significant and will only continue to grow. Instead of fixing the problem, Republicans in Congress continue to bottleneck the bipartisan Alexander-Murray health care stabilization which would restore the funding and stop the hikes. And every day they wait to get on board, Trump and his repeal-at-all-costs Republican allies will own more headlines like these:

Alaska — Alaska Public Media: Premera to bump up premium to cover Trump cut

Arizona — AZ Family: Arizonans worry about rising health insurance rates after Trump’s decision to pull Obamacare subsidies

Arizona — Cronkite News: Cancer survivor says Trump plan sabotages health insurance coverage

Arkansas — Arkansas Online: Double-digit increases OK’d for Arkansas’ health plans after subsidy paid to insurers ends

Colorado — The Denver Channel: Colorado premiums will rise by 6% on top of existing hikes after Trump ends CSR subsidy payments

Iowa — KCRG: As ACA sign up approaches, some fear much higher rates and less help

Kansas — KMBZ: Healthcare options likely to dwindle as government cuts off subsidies

Louisiana — The Advocate: With federal payments to health insurers in limbo, Louisianans brace for premium hikes and Congress mulls action

Louisiana — Fox 8: Expert: Executive order could disproportionately affect Louisianans

Maine — Sun Journal: Maine premiums expected to rise after ACA subsidies end

Missouri — St. Louis Public Radio: Trump’s decisions on health care likely to drive up rates in Missouri, experts say

Nevada — News 4: No immediate impacts from healthcare changes, but NV official fears long-term consequences

North Carolina — WRAL: Trump’s move prompts 14 percent rate increase on Blue Cross ACA plans

Ohio — Times Gazette: Subsidy cuts will raise rates for Obamacare exchange plans

Ohio — WYSO: End To Insurance Subsidies Sparks Concern Over Spike In Next Year’s Health Care Costs

Pennsylvania — Philly Voice: Trump cuts to drive up Obamacare premiums in Pennsylvania by 30 percent

South Carolina — Charleston Post and Courier: Anticipating Trump’s order, South Carolina’s sole Obamacare insurer already planned ‘tremendous’ hike

Tennessee — Fox 17: Tennesseans concerned about cost amid new executive order on healthcare

Tennessee — Nogga.com: Uncertainty in federal government means BCBST rate increase

West Virginia — Metro News: Highmark president says subsidy uncertainty helped drive exchange rate increases

Republican Support for Alexander-Murray Grows

Momentum for bipartisan legislation to shore up the country’s health care market, keep premiums and out-of-pocket expenses low and fund open enrollment continues to grow as Republicans sign onto a deal that has broad Democratic support. The legislation, introduced last week by U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA), already has the backing of a dozen Republican Senators, five Republican Governors and key House Members including Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, and Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY), Co-Chair of the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus.

In just a few days, Alexander-Murray has generated more support in the Senate than any of the partisan repeal bills Republicans have pursued to date. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said this weekend that President Trump’s support is vital to bringing Alexander-Murray for a vote, yet without it there are enough votes for it to pass the Senate in a strong, bipartisan fashion, and likely enough votes for it to pass the House. Despite President Trump insisting on one failed attempt at partisan repeal after another, Members of Congress from both parties are taking matters into their own hands and are ready to act on bipartisan health care solutions with or without the engagement of the President. Don’t take our word for it; just look at the growing Republican support for Alexander-Murray below:

SENATORS

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN): “This Agreement Avoids Chaos.” “‘This would allow the Senate to continue its debate about the long term of health care, but over the next two years I think Americans won’t have to worry about the possibility of being able to buy insurance in counties where they live,’ Alexander said in announcing the deal after a closed-door lunch where he presented it to GOP senators. ‘This agreement avoids chaos. I don’t know a Republican or Democrat who benefits from chaos,’ he said.” [Associated Press, 10/17/17]

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK): “This Short-Term Deal Is An Important Step As We Work Towards Long-Term Solutions.” “For months now, I have been urging a bipartisan approach to healthcare reform. I applaud my colleagues, Senators Alexander and Murray, for continuing to work towards a bipartisan solution addressing some of the most urgent and pressing needs when it comes to the flawed current healthcare law. This is not a problem for Republicans to fix, or Democrats to fix — this is an issue that we all need to come together on. We have to acknowledge that this is a challenge we all share and it’s our responsibility to address it. I’m so pleased to see that the good progress we made in the HELP Committee, in our efforts to stabilize and strengthen the individual market while working to keep premiums from rising, has not stalled. I remain committed to working with my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, to build upon this progress. This short-term deal is an important step as we work towards long-term solutions. So many of us agree the status quo with healthcare in this country is unacceptable. We must continue our efforts to reform our healthcare system — by reducing costs, increasing access, and providing quality healthcare that Americans deserve.” [Sen. Murkowski, 10/17/17]

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME): “I’m Very Pleased That Lamar Alexander And Patty Murray Continue To Work So Hard To Try To Stabilize The Insurance Markets, To Lower Premiums, And To Provide Some Stability.” “I’m very pleased that Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray continue to work so hard to try to stabilize the insurance markets, to lower premiums, and to provide some stability, which is really needed. This bill may not be perfect. I would have liked to have seen a specific authorization and some seed money for reinsurance pools, which would further help to lower premiums. But this is a good package, and I hope it will be passed very quickly so it can have an impact on rates this year.” [Meet the Press, 10/17/17]

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): “I Look Forward To Voting In Support Of This Bill.” “I want to commend Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray for reaching a bipartisan agreement to help stabilize the individual health insurance marketplace. As I have repeatedly stressed, health care reform ought to be the product of regular order in the Senate, and the deal reached today marks a critical step towards that end. Over the past several months, the HELP Committee heard testimony from governors, insurance commissioners, and stakeholders about ways to provide short-term relief to the individual marketplace and streamline the 1332 waiver process to provide states with greater flexibility. While this deal certainly doesn’t solve all the problems caused by Obamacare, it shows that good faith, bipartisan negotiations can achieve consensus on lasting reform. It is my hope that this is a sign of increased bipartisanship moving forward. I look forward to voting in support of this bill.” [McCain Statement, 10/17/17]

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD): “We Protect Low-Income Families From Even Higher Premiums By Temporarily Continuing The CSR Payments For Two Years. “Our agreement will give us time to stabilize the market and provide meaningful flexibility and relief to states while we continue our efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare with a competitive, market-based health care system that is actually affordable. In the meantime, we protect low-income families from even higher premiums by temporarily continuing the CSR payments for two years.” [Sen. Rounds, 10/19/17]

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN): “Congress Has A Responsibility To Ensure That Families In Tennessee And Across Our Country Who Receive Health Insurance Through The Individual Market Do Not Continue To Be Burdened With Rising Premiums And Fewer Choices.” “Congress has a responsibility to ensure that families in Tennessee and across our country who receive health insurance through the individual market do not continue to be burdened with rising premiums and fewer choices. This bill is a temporary fix that will give states the flexibility they need as we work to develop a health care replacement that will stand the test of time and work better for the American people, and I applaud Senator Alexander’s leadership on this important issue.” [Sen. Corker, 10/18/17]

Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) And Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “Without A Stabilization Package, The Market Will Collapse And Advance Premium Tax Credits Will Spike.” “Without a stabilization package, the market will collapse and advance premium tax credits will spike. This would increase the costs to the American taxpayer.” [Joint Statement, 10/19/17]

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA): “This Bipartisan Bill Will Work To Help Stabilize The Markets For The Next Two Years, Give Permanent Flexibility To States Like Iowa, And Offer More Choices To Consumers On The Individual Market.” “This bipartisan bill will work to help stabilize the markets for the next two years, give permanent flexibility to states like Iowa, and offer more choices to consumers on the individual market. While I was disappointed that the Senate was unable to advance important changes to ObamaCare earlier this year, I remain committed to working to find ways to repeal and replace ObamaCare, and provide relief for Iowans suffering from skyrocketing premiums and dwindling individual market options.” [Sen. Ernst, 10/19/17]

HOUSE MEMBERS

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC): Alexander-Murray Bill Is “A Good Start.” “Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows, who’s been at work on a proposal of his own, was slightly more positive, calling the Alexander-Murray bill ‘a good start’ but saying much more work needed to be done.” [Associated Press, 10/17/17]

Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) And Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ): “We Want To Commend Senators Murray And Alexander On Their Breakthrough Today.” “We want to commend Senators Murray and Alexander on their breakthrough today. It aligns closely with our framework and we look forward to working closely with Congress and the White House to pass bipartisan legislation.” [Statement, 10/18/17]

REPUBLICAN GOVERNORS

Govs. John Kasich (R-OH), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Steve Bullock (D-MT), Bill Walker (I-AK), Tom Wolf (D-PA), Brian Sandoval (R-NV), Terry McAuliffe (D-VA), John Bel Edwards (D-LA), Charlie Baker (R-MA), Phil Scott (R-VT): “We Urge Congress To Quickly Pass Legislation To Stabilize Our Private Health Insurance Markets And Make Quality Health Insurance More Available And Affordable.” “We urge Congress to quickly pass legislation to stabilize our private health insurance markets and make quality health insurance more available and affordable. Senators Alexander and Murray have negotiated in good faith and developed a bipartisan agreement that will help achieve these goals. Their legislation deserves a vote by the House and Senate.” [Letter, 10/18/17]

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR): “I’m Very Supportive Of Congress Addressing [CSRs].” “‘You’ve got an impact on 4,000 Arkansans that are having the rug pulled out from underneath them right now,’ Hutchinson said. To protect such consumers, Hutchinson said, Congress should approve money to restore the cost-sharing payments. ‘I’m very supportive of Congress addressing this,’ Hutchinson said. ‘This is another thing that’s back in their lap.’” [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 10/18/17]

Those Who Know Health Care The Best Support The Bipartisan Alexander-Murray Bill

While ultimately failing to get even 50 votes to advance in the Senate, each iteration of the GOP health care repeal bill was able to do one thing exceptionally well: unite major patient groups, consumer groups, hospitals, physicians and issuers against their legislation. The Alexander-Murray proposal has also brought these groups together, but for a different reason — they all have come out in support of the bipartisan legislation. As 29 of the country’s leading patient, provider, and consumer groups have written, “The committee’s proposal, which extends cost-sharing reduction payments and includes other mechanisms of stabilization, clearly moves us in the right direction.”

Read what the rest have to say below…

PATIENT GROUPS

29 Patient, Provider, And Consumer Groups: “The Committee’s Proposal, Which Extends Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments And Includes Other Mechanisms Of Stabilization, Clearly Moves Us In The Right Direction.” “The new bipartisan bill from the Senate HELP Committee Chair and Ranking Member offers some solid strategies to help restore confidence in the individual health insurance market. The return to regular order and bipartisanship are a much-needed breath of fresh air in an often-divided Congress. Senators Alexander and Murray deserve high praise for their leadership on this complex and challenging issue. The committee’s proposal, which extends cost-sharing reduction payments and includes other mechanisms of stabilization, clearly moves us in the right direction. The legislation also preserves and supports key protections for individuals with preexisting conditions. We look forward to fully engaging in the next steps of this process — which will include a thorough and ongoing review of this bill’s impact on patients and consumers — and we caution against any changes that might weaken existing patient protections.” [ALS Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Arthritis Foundation, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, Epilepsy Foundation, Family Voices, GBS/CIDP Foundation International, Lutheran Services in America, March of Dimes, METAvivor Research & Support Organization, Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Alopecia Areata Foundation, National Health Council, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Organization for Rare Disorders, Project Sleep, Pulmonary Hypertension Association, Scleroderma Foundation, The Marfan Foundation, U.S. Hereditary Angioedema Association, United Ostomy Associations of America, United Way Worldwide, Volunteers of America, WomenHeart, 10/18/17]

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network: “This Deal Offers Important, Immediate Action To Stabilize The Individual Insurance Market.” “This deal offers important, immediate action to stabilize the individual insurance market. The funding of cost-sharing reduction payments and encouragement of state reinsurance programs would help add stability to the insurance market and should help to mitigate premium spikes for millions of patients while providing necessary security for insurers to remain in the market. Restoring $106 million per year in outreach and education programming would help to reduce public confusion over the law and ensure more people who need health coverage get it…The bipartisan plan is a good first step toward preserving patient access to meaningful health care.” [ACS CAN, 10/18/17]

CONSUMER GROUPS

AARP: “This Proposal Is An Important Step Toward Strengthening The Affordable Care Act Markets.” “We applaud Senators Alexander and Murray for their bipartisan leadership in working together to develop a health insurance market stabilization plan. This proposal is an important step toward strengthening the Affordable Care Act markets. As the debate continues, AARP will keep advocating for people age 50 and older to protect their access to affordable health care. AARP remains committed to working with Congress to find commonsense, bipartisan solutions that will increase health coverage, lower costs, and stabilize the insurance markets.” [AARP, 10/19/17]

Consumers Union: “We Urge Both The Senate And House To Make Passing Stabilizing Legislation A Priority So That Consumers Aren’t Left Paying The Hefty Price Of Inaction.” “We are encouraged by the bipartisan deal to stabilize the health insurance markets. This agreement — which includes funding the cost-sharing reduction payments for the next two years and restoring funding for enrollment efforts — incorporates consumer-first solutions that will strengthen the marketplaces and ensure that consumers can access affordable care…We urge both the Senate and House to make passing stabilizing legislation a priority so that consumers aren’t left paying the hefty price of inaction.” [Consumers Union, 10/17/17]

PHYSICIANS

American Medical Association: “We Urge All Members Of Congress To Support The Alexander-Murray Proposal.” “The American Medical Association supports the compromise proposal developed by Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray to restore the cost-sharing reduction payments needed to stabilize the individual and non-group health insurance markets through 2019. Multiyear action is needed to maintain the availability and affordability of individual health insurance plans that millions of Americans count on for access to the medical care they need. We are pleased the proposal includes additional health plan options and provides needed funding for outreach, education, and enrollment assistance, while maintaining key guardrails to protect patients as part of the state waiver process. We urge all members of Congress to support the Alexander-Murray proposal.” [AMA, 10/19/17]

HOSPITALS

Federation Of American Hospitals: “We Encourage Both The House And Senate To Act Swiftly On This Important Legislation Since Enrollment Begins In A Matter Of Days.” “We applaud Senators Alexander and Murray for their leadership in crafting a bipartisan plan that will help millions of working American families keep access to the care they need. Ensuring that federal funds remain available to pay for the subsidization of the cost sharing is vital to keeping premiums in check and coverage available to so many people that depend on this critical program. We encourage both the House and Senate to act swiftly on this important legislation since enrollment begins in a matter of days.” [FAH, 10/18/17]

Catholic Health Association: “We Encourage Members Of The House And Senate In Both Parties To Work Diligently On Behalf Of The American People To Achieve A Bipartisan Solution That Provides The Market Stabilization So Essential To A Functional Health Delivery System.” “This two-year stabilization would give the country time to work on the improvements necessary while protecting millions of Americans, many of whom have finally gotten insurance for the first time. We encourage members of the House and Senate in both parties to work diligently on behalf of the American people to achieve a bipartisan solution that provides the market stabilization so essential to a functional health delivery system. Failure to reach an appropriate solution quickly would be harmful to all Americans, but most especially to the millions who have finally been able to get health insurance and address their health concerns.” [CHA, 10/18/17]

Greater New York Hospital Association: “GNYHA Strongly Supports The Alexander-Murray Agreement.” “The leaders of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), have apparently reached a bipartisan agreement to fund the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments — just days after the Trump Administration announced that CSR funding would be discontinued beginning with payments due on October 18. GNYHA strongly supports the Alexander-Murray agreement.” [Letter to Members, 10/19/17]

ISSUERS

America’s Health Insurance Plans: “This Bill Will Provide American Consumers With A More Stable Insurance Market, States With More Flexibility To Meet The Needs Of Their Citizens, And More Choice And More Affordable Care.” “This bill will provide American consumers with a more stable insurance market, states with more flexibility to meet the needs of their citizens, and more choice and more affordable care. AHIP supports and is encouraged by this bipartisan legislation, and we thank Senators Alexander and Murray for their continued commitment to developing solutions that will help ensure the American people have a pathway to more affordable coverage and health care.” [AHIP, 10/18/17]

Protect Our Care Statement on Alexander-Murray Announcement

In response to Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) announcing their legislation with 24 bipartisan co-sponsors on the Senate floor today, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“The Alexander-Murray bipartisan health care legislation gained significant momentum with today’s announcement that this bill has strong bipartisanship support — vastly more than the partisan Senate repeal efforts that never mustered even 50 votes,” said Woodhouse. “It’s time for all Republicans to get behind this bipartisan approach that stabilizes the market. We’ve said all along that a bipartisan approach to health care was the only approach to health care, and after repeated failed attempts at repeal, today’s announcement is a clear signal to President Trump, Senator McConnell and other Republicans that it is time to abandon partisan repeal. If not, the consequences will be on them.”

Trump and GOP Congress Force Health Care Rate Hike of 34 Percent in Ohio

Trump and GOP Congress Force Health Care Rate Hike of 34 Percent in Ohio

“Approximately 11 percent of that increase is attributable to the cost-sharing payment cuts, according to the Ohio Department of Insurance.”

As has been recently reported, health care premiums for Affordable Care Act plans in Ohio are slated to rise 34 percent in 2018, on average, with “approximately 11 percent of that increase is attributable to the cost-sharing payment cuts, according to the Ohio Department of Insurance.” While President Trump and Republicans in Congress have been unable to repeal the health care law, they have been doing everything they can to sabotage the marketplace by:

  • President Trump defunding the law’s mandatory cost-sharing-reduction payments, which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget office said would increase rates by 20% in 2018 and 25% in 2020.
  • Cutting 90% of the funding for advertising to support open enrollment.
  • President Trump signing an Executive Order on his first day in office demanding that agencies dismantle as much of the law as they can.
  • Signing an Executive Order to create garbage insurance plans which will raise premiums, slash coverage and end protections for those with pre-existing conditions.
  • Pursuing partisan repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which has created uncertainty in the market and led to higher premiums.

Now people are facing the consequences.

“Everyone who gets a bill from their insurer for higher health care costs next year can thank President Trump and Republicans in Congress for the sabotage that led to this,” Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse said. “Their repeated threats, uncertainty and sabotage of our health care system is taking a toll on real people’s lives in Ohio. Your health care bills next year should say ‘brought to you by Donald Trump and the GOP.’ It’s time for the GOP to stand up against this sabotage and lower premiums by voting to require the federal government to make CSR payments.”

EXPERTS AND INSURANCE COMMISSIONERS AGREE THAT TRUMP’S SABOTAGE IS RAISING COSTS:

Center for American Progress: “The Center for American Progress estimates that uncertainty around CSRs and mandate enforcement will raise 2018 premiums for benchmark coverage an extra $1,061 annually for a 40-year-old and $2,491 annually for a 64-year-old.” [Center for American Progress, 8/16/17]

Kaiser Family Foundation: “Benchmark Premiums Would Increase By 19 Percent On Average If Cost-Sharing Subsidies Were Unpaid.” [KFF, 4/6/17]

Urban Institute: “We Find That Premiums For Silver Marketplace Plans Would Increase $1,040 Per Person On Average.” [Urban Institute, 1/16]

Commonwealth Fund: “Eliminating Cost-sharing Reductions Could Destabilize Insurance Markets.” [Commonwealth Fund, 4/28/17]

Urban Institute: “A Precipitous Drop In Insurer Participation Is Even More Likely If The Cost-sharing Assistance Is Discontinued.” [Urban Institute, 12/6/16]

Julie Mix Mcpeak, President-Elect Of The National Association Of Insurance Commissioners And Tennessee State Insurance Commissioner: “I Am Very Fearful That We’ll Have Insurers Make A Decision To Leave Markets As A Result Of The Uncertainty.” [New York Times, 8/7/17]

Teresa Miller, Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner: “Failing To Make Payments To Insurers For Cost-sharing Reductions Would Force Insurers To Request A Statewide Average 20.3 Percent Increase Rather Than 8.8 Percent Statewide Average That Was Filed With The Department In May.” [Press Release, 7/31/17]

Mike Kreidler, Washington State Insurance Commissioner: “The Current Federal Administration’s Actions — Such As Not Committing To Reimburse Insurers For Cost-sharing Subsidies And Not Enforcing The Individual Mandate — Appear Focused Only On Destabilizing The Insurance Market.” [Statement, 6/19/17]

Lori Wing-Heier, Director, Alaska Division Of Insurance: “It Is Expected That Health Care Premiums Would Jump As High As 20 Percent If Trump Follows Through With His Threat To Cut Subsidies.” [Fairbanks News-Miner, 8/14/17]

Dave Jones, California State Insurance Commissioner: “President Trump Appears On A Mission To Destroy Health-Insurance Markets By Creating Instability Through His Own Actions And Thereby Depriving Millions Of Americans Of Health-care Coverage.” [Wall Street Journal, 6/27/17]

Marguerite Salazar, Colorado’s State Insurance Commissioner: “Commissioner Marguerite Salazar Said The Trump Administration Threatens The Whole Market. ‘My Fear Is It May Collapse.’” [Los Angeles Times, 5/18/17]

Craig Wright, Chief Actuary, Florida Office of Insurance Regulation: “If The Subsidies Are Not Funded, Carriers Would Face The Prospect Of Large Financial Losses.” [New York Times, 8/7/17]

Eric A. Cioppa, Superintendent Of The Maine Bureau Of Insurance: “If They Don’t Get A Subsidy, I Fully Expect Double-Digit Increases For Three Carriers On The Exchanges Here.” [New York Times, 6/4/17]

National Academy for State Health Policy: “The Federal Government Must Commit To Funding CSR Payments In Order To Lower Rates And Stabilize Carrier Participation.” [Letter from State-based Marketplace Directors, 8/30/17]

Dan Hilferty, President And CEO, Independence Blue Cross: “We Firmly Believe Your Coverage Will Be There For 2018, If The Federal Government, Congress And President Commit To, Fund The Subsidies During An Interim Period Of Time.” [CNN, 7/19/17]

Kelly Paulk, Vice President, Product Strategy And Individual Markets, Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Tennessee: “We Have To Factor In Two Significant Uncertainties…Combining Those Two Factors Leads To An Average 21 Percent Rate Increase.” [Blog Post, 6/30/17]

Danielle Devine, Michigan Director Of Operations, Meridian Health Plan: “The Political Climate Continues To Make It Difficult To Price And The Uncertainty Over The Future Of The Subsidies Creates The Largest Reason For Significant Rate Increases.” [Crain’s Detroit Business, 6/14/17]

Rick Notter, Director Of Individual Business, Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Michigan: “If We Don’t Have That Cost-Sharing (Subsidy), We Have To Make Up The Difference And The Only Way For Us To Do That Is With A Higher Rate.” [Detroit Free Press, 6/14/17]

Dr. Mario Molina, Former CEO, Molina Healthcare: “The Administration And Republicans In Congress Want You To Believe That Insurers Raising Premiums For Their Plans Or Exiting The Marketplaces All Together Are Consequences Of The Design Of The Affordable Care Act Instead Of The Direct Results Of Their Own Actions To Sabotage The Law. Don’t Let Them Fool You.” [U.S. News & World Report, 5/30/17]

Brad Wilson, CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield Of North Carolina: “The Failure Of The Administration And The House To Bring Certainty And Clarity By Funding CSRs Has Caused Our Company To File A 22.9 Percent Premium Increase, Rather Than One That Is Materially Lower.” [Washington Post, 5/26/17]

Kurt Giesa, Practice Leader, Oliver Wyman Actuarial Consulting: “Our Modeling Shows That This Uncertainty, If It Remains, Could Lead Payers To Submit Rate Increases Between 28 And 40 Percent, And More Than Two-thirds Of Those Increases Will Be Related To The Uncertainty Around CSR Payments And Individual Mandate.” [Oliver Wyman, 6/14/17]

Trump and GOP Congress Force Health Care Rate Hike of 14 Percent in North Carolina

“Had CSR payments not been eliminated, Blue Cross NC’s final rate for ACA customers’ average would have been near zero.” -Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina statement

As has been recently reported, health care premiums for Blue Cross Blue Shield customers in North Carolina are slated to rise 14.1%, on average. “Had CSR payments not been eliminated, Blue Cross NC’s final rate request for ACA customers’ average would have been near zero,” Blue Cross said in a statement.

While President Trump and Republicans in Congress have been unable to repeal the health care law, they have been doing everything they can to sabotage the marketplace by:

  • President Trump defunding the law’s mandatory cost-sharing-reduction payments, which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget office said would increase rates by 20% in 2018 and 25% in 2020.
  • Cutting 90% of the funding for advertising to support open enrollment.
  • President Trump signing an Executive Order on his first day in office demanding that agencies dismantle as much of the law as they can.
  • Signing an Executive Order to create garbage insurance plans which will raise premiums, slash coverage and end protections for those with pre-existing conditions.
  • Pursuing partisan repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which has created uncertainty in the market and led to higher premiums.

Now people are facing the consequences.

“Everyone who gets a bill from their insurer for higher health care costs next year can thank President Trump and Republicans in Congress for the sabotage that led to this,” Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse said. “Their repeated threats, uncertainty and sabotage of our health care system is taking a toll on real people’s lives in North Carolina. Your health care bills next year should say ‘brought to you by Donald Trump and the GOP.’ It’s time for the GOP to stand up against this sabotage and lower premiums by voting to require the federal government to make CSR payments.”

EXPERTS AND INSURANCE COMMISSIONERS AGREE THAT TRUMP’S SABOTAGE IS RAISING COSTS:

Center for American Progress: “The Center for American Progress estimates that uncertainty around CSRs and mandate enforcement will raise 2018 premiums for benchmark coverage an extra $1,061 annually for a 40-year-old and $2,491 annually for a 64-year-old.” [Center for American Progress, 8/16/17]

Kaiser Family Foundation: “Benchmark Premiums Would Increase By 19 Percent On Average If Cost-Sharing Subsidies Were Unpaid.” [KFF, 4/6/17]

Urban Institute: “We Find That Premiums For Silver Marketplace Plans Would Increase $1,040 Per Person On Average.” [Urban Institute, 1/16]

Commonwealth Fund: “Eliminating Cost-sharing Reductions Could Destabilize Insurance Markets.” [Commonwealth Fund, 4/28/17]

Urban Institute: “A Precipitous Drop In Insurer Participation Is Even More Likely If The Cost-sharing Assistance Is Discontinued.” [Urban Institute, 12/6/16]

Julie Mix Mcpeak, President-Elect Of The National Association Of Insurance Commissioners And Tennessee State Insurance Commissioner: “I Am Very Fearful That We’ll Have Insurers Make A Decision To Leave Markets As A Result Of The Uncertainty.” [New York Times, 8/7/17]

Teresa Miller, Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner: “Failing To Make Payments To Insurers For Cost-sharing Reductions Would Force Insurers To Request A Statewide Average 20.3 Percent Increase Rather Than 8.8 Percent Statewide Average That Was Filed With The Department In May.” [Press Release, 7/31/17]

Mike Kreidler, Washington State Insurance Commissioner: “The Current Federal Administration’s Actions — Such As Not Committing To Reimburse Insurers For Cost-sharing Subsidies And Not Enforcing The Individual Mandate — Appear Focused Only On Destabilizing The Insurance Market.” [Statement, 6/19/17]

Lori Wing-Heier, Director, Alaska Division Of Insurance: “It Is Expected That Health Care Premiums Would Jump As High As 20 Percent If Trump Follows Through With His Threat To Cut Subsidies.” [Fairbanks News-Miner, 8/14/17]

Dave Jones, California State Insurance Commissioner: “President Trump Appears On A Mission To Destroy Health-Insurance Markets By Creating Instability Through His Own Actions And Thereby Depriving Millions Of Americans Of Health-care Coverage.” [Wall Street Journal, 6/27/17]

Marguerite Salazar, Colorado’s State Insurance Commissioner: “Commissioner Marguerite Salazar Said The Trump Administration Threatens The Whole Market. ‘My Fear Is It May Collapse.’” [Los Angeles Times, 5/18/17]

Craig Wright, Chief Actuary, Florida Office of Insurance Regulation: “If The Subsidies Are Not Funded, Carriers Would Face The Prospect Of Large Financial Losses.” [New York Times, 8/7/17]

Eric A. Cioppa, Superintendent Of The Maine Bureau Of Insurance: “If They Don’t Get A Subsidy, I Fully Expect Double-Digit Increases For Three Carriers On The Exchanges Here.” [New York Times, 6/4/17]

National Academy for State Health Policy: “The Federal Government Must Commit To Funding CSR Payments In Order To Lower Rates And Stabilize Carrier Participation.” [Letter from State-based Marketplace Directors, 8/30/17]

Dan Hilferty, President And CEO, Independence Blue Cross: “We Firmly Believe Your Coverage Will Be There For 2018, If The Federal Government, Congress And President Commit To, Fund The Subsidies During An Interim Period Of Time.” [CNN, 7/19/17]

Kelly Paulk, Vice President, Product Strategy And Individual Markets, Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Tennessee: “We Have To Factor In Two Significant Uncertainties…Combining Those Two Factors Leads To An Average 21 Percent Rate Increase.” [Blog Post, 6/30/17]

Danielle Devine, Michigan Director Of Operations, Meridian Health Plan: “The Political Climate Continues To Make It Difficult To Price And The Uncertainty Over The Future Of The Subsidies Creates The Largest Reason For Significant Rate Increases.” [Crain’s Detroit Business, 6/14/17]

Rick Notter, Director Of Individual Business, Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Michigan: “If We Don’t Have That Cost-Sharing (Subsidy), We Have To Make Up The Difference And The Only Way For Us To Do That Is With A Higher Rate.” [Detroit Free Press, 6/14/17]

Dr. Mario Molina, Former CEO, Molina Healthcare: “The Administration And Republicans In Congress Want You To Believe That Insurers Raising Premiums For Their Plans Or Exiting The Marketplaces All Together Are Consequences Of The Design Of The Affordable Care Act Instead Of The Direct Results Of Their Own Actions To Sabotage The Law. Don’t Let Them Fool You.” [U.S. News & World Report, 5/30/17]

Brad Wilson, CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield Of North Carolina: “The Failure Of The Administration And The House To Bring Certainty And Clarity By Funding CSRs Has Caused Our Company To File A 22.9 Percent Premium Increase, Rather Than One That Is Materially Lower.” [Washington Post, 5/26/17]

Kurt Giesa, Practice Leader, Oliver Wyman Actuarial Consulting: “Our Modeling Shows That This Uncertainty, If It Remains, Could Lead Payers To Submit Rate Increases Between 28 And 40 Percent, And More Than Two-thirds Of Those Increases Will Be Related To The Uncertainty Around CSR Payments And Individual Mandate.” [Oliver Wyman, 6/14/17]

Speaker Ryan, Here Is a Homegrown Reason to Oppose Trump’s Sabotage

In response to the bipartisan agreement in the Senate to restore funding for cost-sharing reductions and prevent the 20% health care costs increase, Speaker Ryan still can’t find a reason to support it and abandon his health care repeal:

SHOT:

@MEPFuller — “‘The speaker does not see anything that changes his view that the Senate should keep its focus on repeal and replace of Obamacare,’ Ryan spox Doug Andres says.”

Maybe the Speaker should try reading his hometown newspaper?

CHASER:

Wisconsin State Journal: Obamacare insurance rates to rise 36 percent in Wisconsin next year

“Health insurance premiums on the Affordable Care Act exchange will go up an average of 36 percent in Wisconsin next year, but government subsidies will offset the increases for most people, a state official said Thursday.

A major reason for the stiff hikes is that President Donald Trump’s administration hasn’t said if it will continue certain payments to insurers, said J.P. Wieske, deputy commissioner of insurance.”

Trump Chooses Sabotage Over Solutions, What Will Congress Do?

Trump Chooses Sabotage Over Solutions, What Will Congress Do?

After President Trump came out against the bipartisan health care reform and market stabilization deal negotiated by Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“Sadly, President Trump has flip flopped and now opposes bipartisan solutions that strengthen our health care markets and keep costs from going up even higher.

“The American people are demanding Washington put partisanship aside and work across the aisle to protect people’s health care and reduce costs. Even though this deal addresses only a small part of President Trump’s sabotage, it’s a good first-step to undo his decision on CSRs that is forcing health care costs up 20% across the country.

“Republicans in Congress now have to pick which side they’re on. Do they let President Trump continue to sabotage health care and force up costs for people or do they back this deal and stand up to his sabotage. If they do not stand up to this sabotage they will be responsible for higher premiums and worse coverage.”

Protect Our Care Statement On Alexander-Murray Stabilization Agreement

In response to the news of a bipartisan health care agreement, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

In response to the news of a bipartisan health care agreement, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“For the last ten months, President Trump and Republicans in Congress have relentlessly pursued an agenda of partisan repeal and sabotage. The result has been higher premiums, significant threats to the insurance markets and the undermining of open enrollment.

“The American people have been hungry for Republicans and Democrats to come together in a bipartisan way to stabilize the market and ensure the American people have affordable access to health care. While we still need to review the details, the reported Alexander-Murray bill is an important bipartisan first step, and we thank them for their work.

“Now Congress needs to move immediately to pass this agreement, without any amendments that weaken the progress that has been made. The only viable path forward on health care is a bipartisan one. It’s time for President Trump and Republicans to abandon partisan repeal and their deliberate sabotage of health care.”