Bipartisan Group Of Governors Urge Congress To Stabilize Health Market

Republican presidential candidate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, speaks during a town hall at Thomas farms Community Center , on Monday, April 25, 2016, in Rockville, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Republican presidential candidate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, speaks during a town hall at Thomas farms Community Center , on Monday, April 25, 2016, in Rockville, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

A bipartisan group of governors on Wednesday night sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to pass legislation to stabilize Obamacare’s individual health market.

“We urge Congress to quickly pass legislation to stabilize our private health insurance markets and make quality health insurance more available and affordable,” the governors wrote in the letter.

The governors support the agreement reached by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) to restore the subsidies to insurers cut off by the Trump administration this month. They called for the government to fund the cost sharing reduction (CSR) payments through 2019. The governors warned that nixing the CSR payments will raise premiums and cause insurers to leave the marketplace, citing a Congressional Budget Office report predicting a premium spike.

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“With the elimination of the federal payments for the cost charing reduction program, insurers are faced with significant financial losses, which could force them to withdraw from the marketplace, or, in some states, request significant rate increases,” the governors wrote.

The Republican governors who signed the letter include Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Massachusetts Gov. Charles Baker, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, and Vermont Gov. Phil Scott. Independent Alaska Gov. Bill Walker and several Democratic governors also signed the letter.

Earlier this week, it appeared that Congress had a break-through when Alexander and Murray announced that they had reached an agreement on a bill to stabilize the individual market. But several Republican lawmakers are skeptical, and President Donald Trump has sent worrisome mixed signals on the bill, leaving it unclear whether Congress could pass it.

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