Washington, D.C.– Bipartisan Policy Center Senior Vice President Bill Hoagland and Health Policy Director Katherine Hayes made the following statement today regarding President Trump’s decision to immediately cease payment of $7 billion in annual subsidies to health insurers that help consumers afford their deductibles and out of pocket expenses:
“The decision by President Trump to immediately stop payment of the cost-sharing subsidies provided through the Affordable Care Act is very short-sighted. It will hurt millions of low-income Americans and destabilize the individual insurance market, which is already extremely fragile.
“Extending the cost-sharing reductions is necessary to make sure that Americans continue to have access to affordable health insurance in this market. When 2018 ACA marketplace rates were finalized last month, we saw double digit increases by health insurers all around the country explicitly due to uncertainty surrounding continued payment of these subsidies. Absent congressional action, this administration’s decision to end the payments assures the higher premiums will be in effect for 2018 and beyond. According to congressional budget estimates, failure to pay these funds will raise the federal deficit by $200 billion. It will also cause some insurers to exit the marketplaces and discontinue offering individual coverage altogether, undermining our nation’s health care system.
“Given the bipartisan commitment to ensuring stable and affordable coverage in the individual market, and in the absence of a larger consensus for health reform, we have been encouraging Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, to extend these important subsidies through 2018 and 2019, coupled with policies to encourage state innovation in health care. BPC remains committed to assisting policymakers in crafting bipartisan solutions to achieving this goal.”
Bill Hoagland and Katherine Hayes are available for comment.