U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Statement on Trump Administration’s Plan to Slash Health Insurance Outreach Funding
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 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that it would cut funding for the Health Insurance Marketplace Navigator program, insurance outreach, and enrollment education and assistance for the 2018 enrollment period by 90 percent.
“I am deeply troubled by the Trump Administration’s plan to slash funding for health insurance outreach and enrollment efforts in 2018 that would help increase participation and stability in the market. President Trump continues to play politics and these political games have real consequences that are compounding uncertainty in the insurance market and could increase health insurance costs for consumers.
“By cutting essential insurance navigator programs, which will harm Wisconsin’s vital consumer assistance agencies, and threatening to withhold critical cost-sharing payments that help lower costs for more than 110,000 Wisconsinites, the Trump Administration is actively creating chaos and disrupting our health care system.
“We should be working together across party lines to stabilize the health insurance Marketplace by increasing participation of younger and healthier individuals and providing certainty for the cost sharing payments that help make health care more affordable. Beginning next week, I look forward to working with my bipartisan colleagues Senators Alexander and Murray to advance these and other solutions that work for the American people.”
Beginning next week on September 6th, the Senate HELP Committee will hold bipartisan hearings 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 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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