WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), as members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today sent a letter to President Donald Trump, calling on him to halt efforts to undermine the benefits in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and help stabilize the insurance market by taking action to protect the cost-sharing subsidies that help lower out-of-pocket health care costs for working families. The Senators also sent the letter to Secretary Tom Price and Speaker Paul Ryan.
“As we have said, we stand ready to work on improvements to the law that would reduce costs for individuals and improve the stability of the market. But, we cannot work together on commonsense reforms without a strong commitment from your Administration to do no further harm and to halt efforts that have already begun to undermine access to affordable coverage,” the Senators wrote. “We urge you, again, to take action to protect and continue this vital financial assistance for our constituents and all of the health benefits that our families rely on today.”
More than 6 million Americans enrolled in health coverage under the ACA are receiving cost-sharing subsidies to help reduce their out of pocket costs and deductibles. More than 120,000 Wisconsinites currently rely on this assistance to keep their deductibles low and help them afford critical health services.
A lawsuit advanced by Congressional Republicans, House v. Price (formerly House v. Burwell), seeks to stop ACA cost-sharing reductions and raise out of pocket costs for families. Instead of committing to protect the payments, President Trump and House Republicans further delayed action on this lawsuit – prolonging uncertainty for consumers and insurers – until May 22, 2017. President Trump could take action to halt these subsidy payments, which would force families to lose critical financial assistance and create instability for insurers that could result in plan cancellations.
“Failing to take immediate action to oppose the lawsuit or direct House Republicans to forgo this effort will increase instability in the insurance market, as insurers may choose not to participate in the marketplace in 2018,” the Senators added. “Most importantly, if your Administration stops these payments, it would immediately expose our families to higher insurance costs and could force them to forgo needed care.”
Senator Baldwin previously led a letter to President Trump on protecting the cost-sharing subsidies as the White House and Congressional Republicans were shaping their Affordable Care Act repeal legislation.
A copy of the letter the senators sent is available here.
An online version of this release is available here.