WASHINGTON, D.C.– Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), CPC Healthcare Taskforce Chair Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and taskforce members today sent a letter to Congressional leadership, urging passage of policies to improve the Affordable Care Act marketplace for enrollees in 2018. The letter comes as President Trump signed an executive order further sabotaging the ACA by exempting “association” health plans from essential benefit requirements (such as coverage of maternity, mental health and autism benefits) and consumer protections. These plans will skew the risk pool by discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions and offering skimpier coverage, driving up premiums for everyone else.
“The Trump Administration has been engaged in a series of efforts designed to sabotage ACA implementation during the upcoming open enrollment period – a period they deliberately cut in half from previous years in an effort to undermine the program. Most notably, Trump Administration’s failure to commit to paying Cost-Sharing Reduction Subsidies (CSRs) and enforce the individual mandate has led many insurers to increase projected premiums by double-digit figures,” wrote the Members. “Additionally, the Administration has made drastic cuts in outreach efforts and navigator counseling, and moved to restrict access by shutting down the Marketplace website for 12 hours on Sundays. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has also apparently ordered its employees not to participate in open enrollment events around the country.”
“The Congressional Progressive Caucus believes it must be a top priority to pass measures that can be agreed to on a bipartisan, bicameral basis to improve market stability and lower premiums. To that end, we endorse the inclusion of a permanent appropriation for Cost Sharing Reduction Subsidies (CSRs) and a reinsurance or risk corridor program, which would ensure that health insurers are able to offer affordable plans to low-income individuals, improve insurance risk pools, and prevent adverse risk selection by insurers,” continued the Members. “While we support efforts aimed at ensuring health insurer participation in the Marketplaces, the bipartisan bicameral legislative discussions must also address measures that will inject additional competition and cost-reduction reforms into the Marketplaces.”
“There is an urgent need for action to prevent excessive premium increases and market disruptions, as well as a chance to make our health system more affordable and accessible. The American public deserves to know that we are working for them,” concluded the Members. “This is not about politics, it is about American’s health and wellbeing.”
The full letter is available here.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is the largest caucus within the House Democratic Caucus, with over 70 members standing up for progressive ideals in Washington and throughout the country. Since 1991, the CPC has advocated for progressive policies that prioritize working Americans over corporate interests, fight economic and social inequality, and promote civil liberties. The CPC champions progressive policy solutions like comprehensive immigration reform, a $15 national minimum wage, fair trade, gun violence reform, debt-free college, and making the federal government a Model Employer.