U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Statement on HELP Committee Announcement to Hold Hearings on Stabilizing and Strengthening the Individual Health Insurance Market
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), released the following statement after HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) announced yesterday that the Committee would hold hearings beginning the week of September 4th on the actions Congress should take to stabilize and strengthen the individual health insurance market so that Americans will be able to buy insurance at affordable prices in the year 2018.
“The people of Wisconsin have sent a clear message that they want us to work across party lines to make things better, not worse. Now is the time to work together to make things better by stabilizing the health insurance market and making health care more affordable. I strongly believe that if both parties look past the partisan debate in Washington, we can find common ground.
“The Trump Administration continues to play politics by threatening to withhold critical cost-sharing payments that help lower costs for more than 110,000 Wisconsinites. Health care providers need certainty and all they have gotten from President Trump are threats to create chaos and disrupt our health care system.
“I have cosponsored legislation to stabilize the health insurance Marketplace and provide certainty with cost-sharing payments that lower health insurance costs for people. We should be working to advance these and other policies, and I applaud Senators Alexander and Murray for providing leadership and bringing us together to work across party lines on solutions that work for the American people.”
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), led by NAIC President and Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance Ted Nickel, told the Trump Administration that uncertainty around cost-sharing reduction payments could lead to a 15 to 20 percent premium rate increase for consumers. Despite that, the Trump Administration continues to destabilize the markets by refusing to permanently approve these payments that lower consumers' deductibles and co-pays, and provide certainty to the market.
In July, Senator Baldwin joined Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and 19 of their colleagues in introducing the Marketplace Certainty Act to help stabilize the health care marketplace by permanently appropriating the cost-sharing reductions included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and making cost-sharing reduction payments available to more Americans.
In April, Senator Baldwin led members of the Senate HELP Committee in sending a letter to President Trump, Secretary Price and Speaker Paul Ryan calling on them to halt all efforts to undermine the benefits in the ACA and protect the cost-sharing payments.
In January, Senator Baldwin sent a letter to President Trump calling on him to protect the cost-sharing subsidies that help lower out-of-pocket health care.
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