Bill would permanently fund and expand access to health care subsidies
■ Mary Ann Morris / Editor
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Raul Ruiz, M.D. (CA-36) announced on July 18 the introduction of H.R.3258, the Marketplace Certainty Act. This bill will help millions of Americans afford health care by permanently funding Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) subsidies and expanding access to more hardworking families. Currently, seven million Americans rely on these subsidies to afford such out-of-pocket costs as deductibles and copayments.
To date, the Trump administration has refused to commit to funding CSRs, causing uncertainty in the marketplaces. Without a commitment, instability will continue, costs will skyrocket, and insurers will exit the marketplaces. According to a recent report in “Politico,” the Trump administration has stated it will continue to pay for these cost-sharing subsidies, but President Trump’s public statements, including “The best thing politically is to let Obamacare explode,” and “Obamacare is dead” leave pundits to wonder if the administration’s promises will be kept.
The CEO of Molina Healthcare recently warned in an April letter to Speaker Paul Ryan that if cost-sharing subsidies are not funded, the company will withdraw from the marketplaces immediately.
Estimates show that if CSRs are not funded, health insurance premiums will rise by an average 19 percent and in some cases as high as 30 percent. The Marketplace Certainty Act provides stability by expanding and permanently funding CSRs. H.R.3258 is the House companion bill to S.1462, which was introduced by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) in June.
“Patients are facing skyrocketing premiums and health insurers are leaving the marketplaces because of the uncertainty created by Republican leaders threatening to not pay for Cost Sharing Reductions,” said Dr. Ruiz. “The Marketplace Certainty Act will provide stability by permanently funding CSRs and increasing eligibility to 400 percent Federal Poverty Level (FPL). This will undoubtedly help stabilize premiums, keep insurers in the markets, and help working, middle-class families afford they care they need. This is pragmatic, commonsense legislation to stabilize the marketplace.”
The Affordable Care Act made subsidies available to individuals and families who earn between 100 and 250 percent of the FPL. H.R.3258 expands eligibility to those earning under 400 percent FPL. This provides additional assistance to help hardworking Americans afford out-of-pocket costs and stay healthy.