Democrats Demand Trump Administration Documents Used to Justify Ending Consumer Health Care Subsidies

“This decision was made with an inadequate basis given the expected harm it will have on millions of families across the country.”

WASHINGTON – Top House and Senate Democratic health leaders demanded that the Trump Administration provide Congress with documents used to justify the Administration’s decision to terminate the cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments, including any analyses of the decision’s impact on consumer health insurance costs, access to health insurance, and federal spending, in letters sent today to the President and Health and Human Services Acting Secretary Eric D. Hargan.

The Administration’s decision to cut off CSR payments comes just weeks before the shortened 45-day Open Enrollment period begins on November 1st, when consumers will be able to sign up for health insurance in the Affordable Care Act’s state and federal Marketplaces.

The letters were signed by House Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), House Ways and Means Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA), House Education and the Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA), Senate Finance Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senate HELP Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), and Senate Aging Ranking Member Bob Casey (D-PA). 

“The Affordable Care Act requires, and it is your obligation under the law, to make these payments,” the Democrats wrote to President Trump.  “Your repeated public statements about the ACA make clear that your decision to terminate these subsidies was motivated by a desire to sabotage the law.  In fact, hours after announcing your decision, you invoked payment of CSRs as a negotiating tool, tweeting, ‘Dems should call me to fix!’ It is entirely unclear how this motivation relates to the Administration’s purported legal justification for terminating CSR payments, provided in the memo from Attorney General Jeff Sessions.”   

To better understand the Administration’s devastating decision to cut off these vitally important subsidies, the Democrats are requesting all materials the Administration used as an empirical basis for terminating the subsidies, any impact analyses conducted by the Administration on the impact of the decision to terminate CSR payments, and the Administration’s plans to provide information about the implications of President Trump’s decision to consumers during the upcoming open enrollment season.  

“We are deeply concerned about the impact of President Trump’s unilateral decision to terminate CSR payments on consumers,” the Democrats wrote to Acting Secretary Hargan.  “We believe this decision was made with an inadequate basis given the expected harm it will have on millions of families across the country.”

CSR payments help more than six million hardworking people and their families — more than half of all ACA Marketplace enrollees for 2017 — afford their out-of-pocket health care costs.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, terminating CSR payments will cause premiums to skyrocket for millions of Americans, drive insurers to withdraw from the market, and one million people would lose coverage.  In addition, terminating CSR payments will increase federal spending by $194 billion by 2026.

A copy of the letters is available here

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