A broad coalition of insurers, hospitals, and medical groups penned an open letter to President Donald Trump on Thursday warning him not to make good on his repeated threat to cut off billions in cost sharing reduction (CSR) payments that help subsidize care for low-income Americans.
“Without these funds, consumers’ access to care is jeopardized, their premiums will increase dramatically, and they will be left with even fewer coverage options,” warned the coalition, comprised of America’s Health Insurance Plans, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Benefits Council, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, the Federation of American Hospitals, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“These benefits are essential to making coverage and care affordable for American families who receive them. Clarity and commitment to this funding is needed to eliminate confusion and anxiety for consumers,” the letter continues. “As medical professionals, insurers providing health care services and coverage to hundreds of millions of Americans, and business leaders concerned with maintaining a stable health insurance marketplace for consumers, we believe it is imperative that the Administration fund the cost-sharing reduction program.”
The Trump administration initially promised a decision on the fate of the payments by this week, but has since suggested it would kick the can down the road to late August, when the next payment is due.
As White House officials told Politico that “Trump continues to lean towards ending the subsidies,” even Republicans on Capitol Hill who are staunchly opposed to the Affordable Care Act have pleaded with the president not to pull that particular trigger, warning that low-income and ill Americans would bear the brunt of the fallout.
Some Senate Republicans are opposed to cutting of the payments and are drafting a bill to have Congress make those payments for a year, taking the decision out of Trump’s hands and giving the insurance companies the certainty they crave.
Alice Ollstein is a reporter at Talking Points Memo, covering national politics. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2010 and has been reporting in DC ever since, covering the Supreme Court, Congress and national elections for TV, radio, print, and online outlets. Her work has aired on Free Speech Radio News, All Things Considered, Channel News Asia, and Telesur, and her writing has been published by The Atlantic, La Opinión, and The Hill Rag. She was elected in 2016 as an at-large board member of the DC Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Alice grew up in Santa Monica, California and began working for local newspapers in her early teens.