Washington, D.C.– The following is a statement from the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Expert Panel on the Future of Health Care, following the unsuccessful effort of the Senate to pass the Health Care Freedom Act:
“Leadership from both parties in the Senate have expressed the need to work in a bipartisan fashion to address the shortcomings in our nation’s health system. As the parties work towards a dialogue on that process, we also need short-term bipartisan cooperation to ensure that consumers will have more affordable insurance options in 2018. Most importantly, congressional leaders from both parties need to make a public commitment to provide funding for cost-sharing reduction subsidies for next year. The Congressional Budget Office has confirmed this week that this funding is already assumed in the budget, so making a clear appropriation for it will not increase the agency’s projection of the deficit in coming years.
“There is no other viable option but to make good on this commitment. Insurance companies are required under the law to provide reduced co-pays and deductibles for lower-income consumers, and have priced their products’ premiums with the expectation on an uncertain environment about whether the federal government will provide funding to cover these costs. Prompt action is needed to make it clear that this funding will be available so insurers can incorporate that assumption into their offerings for next year.
An important start on a bipartisan approach is making a commitment to fund cost-sharing subsidies, which is needed to ensure health insurance coverage is available and affordable next year.
“Over the long-term, we need to find bipartisan consensus on how to best improve our health care system, so that it is secure and delivers better care at lower costs. Since March when BPC convened a bipartisan group of 10 health care policy experts, we have been working to find a common understanding of the real problems in our health care system and how to address them. We have stressed that bipartisan collaboration is essential for producing durable policy solutions in the long-term.
“An important start on a bipartisan approach is making a commitment to fund cost-sharing subsidies, which is needed to ensure health insurance coverage is available and affordable next year. Taking that step will also signal to the American people that the next efforts of health care reform can and should be done in a bipartisan manner so that they stand the test of time.”
This statement is from the BPC’s Expert Panel on the Future of Health Care: former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle and Bill Frist; BPC senior advisor and former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Andy Slavitt; senior fellow, Project Hope and former administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration Gail Wilensky; BPC fellow and strategic advisor, Baker Donelson Sheila Burke; resident fellow, Milton Friedman chair, American Enterprise Institute Jim Capretta; BPC fellow and founder and president, Jennings Policy Strategies Chris Jennings; partner, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP and former director of the Center for Medicaid Cindy Mann; senior fellow, Center for Health Policy, The Brookings Institution, and former director of the Office of Management and Budget Alice Rivlin; and BPC senior advisor and co-founder and president, Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity Avik Roy.
KEYWORDS: BILL FRIST, TOM DASCHLE, ALICE RIVLIN, CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE, SHEILA BURKE, ANDY SLAVITT, CHRIS JENNINGS, AVIK ROY, GAIL WILENSKY, CINDY MANN, HEALTH CARE, FUTURE OF HEALTH CARE INITIATIVE, JIM CAPRETTA