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Stabilize the Exchanges

By Rick Pollack
April 21, 2017

Congress returns to Washington next week with some important decisions to make in a short time. One of their immediate priorities should be stabilizing the Health Insurance Marketplaces to protect the millions of Americans who rely on them for health coverage. Policymakers should remove uncertainty about continued funding for cost-sharing reductions. This funding helps cover out-of-pocket costs for lower-income people who purchase coverage through the exchanges. Nearly 60% of marketplace customers rely on these funds – that’s 7 million people, all who earn less than 250% of the federal poverty level. If funding is not continued, consumers will have fewer coverage options. Insurers will exit the marketplaces. Premiums will rise. And hospital resources will be strained as they care for more uninsured Americans. We and other stakeholders agree funding the cost-sharing subsidies is essential to creating stable marketplaces and promoting greater access to coverage. But Congress and the administration have yet to say whether the funding will continue. We urge Congress to take quick action and appropriate the necessary funds.

Topics: Access and Coverage, Advocacy and Public Policy
Tags: Coverage, access

Richard J. (Rick) Pollack is the President and CEO of the American Hospital Association.

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