Alexander Recommends Administration Extend Cost-Sharing Payments Temporarily to Help Collapsing ACA Exchanges Transition to Stable Market

Posted on June 15, 2017

“We have a collapsing individual market as a part of the Affordable Care Act, and as part of a transition from a collapsing market to a stable market in which Americans have more choices of insurance at a lower-cost, Republicans will need to temporarily support some things we would not normally support over the longer term—and I would hope Democrats would do that as well.”

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 15, 2017 – Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today recommended the Trump administration “find a way, either through administrative action or legislation or a combination, to extend temporary cost-sharing payments under the Affordable Care Act at least through 2018—and probably should go ahead and do it through 2019.”

“These payments help to reduce the cost of premiums and co-payments for the roughly 4 percent of insured Americans who get their insurance through the exchanges on the individual market,” Alexander said. “These payments help to avoid the real possibility that millions of Americans will literally have zero options for insurance in the individual market in 2018.”

“We have a collapsing individual market as a part of the Affordable Care Act, and as part of a transition from a collapsing market to a stable market in which Americans have more choices of insurance at a lower-cost, Republicans will need to temporarily support some things we would not normally support over the longer term—and I would hope Democrats would do that as well.”

Alexander noted that at a House budget hearing last week House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady made a similar recommendation. Brady said: “We should act within our constitutional authority now to temporarily and legally fund Cost Sharing Reduction payments as we move away from Obamacare and toward a patient-centered system that truly works for the American people. Insurers have made clear the lack of certainty is causing 2018 proposed premiums to rise significantly. When these payments are funded by Congress, families trapped in Obamacare should expect these proposed premiums to be reduced significantly.”