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Trump and GOP Congress Force Health Care Rate Hike in California

By October 11, 2017No Comments

As was just announced, California will impose an average 12.4 percent surcharge on health care premiums for the benchmark silver plan offered through Covered California because of efforts by President Trump and Republicans in Congress to sabotage our health care by threatening to withhold cost-sharing reduction payments. While they have been unable to repeal the health care law, they have been doing everything they can to sabotage the marketplace by:

  • Threatening to defund 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.
  • Slashing 90% of the funding to let people know when and how they can sign up for coverage.
  • Prohibiting Regional Directors from the Department of Health and Human Services from participating in efforts to help people enroll in coverage during open enrollment.
  • Shutting down during critical hours.
  • Cutting the number of days people can sign up for coverage in half.
  • On the first day of this administration, President Trump signed an Executive Order demanding that agencies dismantle as much of the law as they can.

Now people are facing the consequences.

“Everyone with the benchmark plan 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 California. Your health care bills next year should say ‘brought to you by Donald Trump.’”


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]