Groups press senators for two years of ObamaCare subsidy funding

Groups press senators for two years of ObamaCare subsidy funding
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The Senate’s bipartisan health care bill needs to fund ObamaCare’s subsidy payments for at least two years, insurers, hospitals and other stakeholder groups said Tuesday.

In a letter to the Senate Health Committee, groups including America’s Health Insurance Plans, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association said Congress needs to fund cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments through at least 2019.

“Without two years of CSR funding, uncertainty will persist and the Congress will need to address these same issues early next year,” the groups wrote. “By committing to CSR funding for two years, it would go a long way to bring much needed stability to the individual market and promote access to more affordable coverage and choices for millions of Americans."

The letter is part of a concerted push by insurers and health care providers to secure the funding ahead of a series of bipartisan Health Committee hearings that begin tomorrow.

The committee’s chairman, Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderGovernor's race grabs spotlight in Tennessee primaries A single courageous senator can derail the Trump administration GOP worries trade wars will last as Trump engages in temporary tiffs MORE (R-Tenn.), and the panel’s ranking member, Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayGOP leader criticizes Republican senators for not showing up to work Senate Dems press Sessions for records on racial discrimination complaints Dem senators introduce resolution calling on Trump to stop attacking the press MORE (D-Wash.), are working to craft a bipartisan bill to stabilize the marketplaces.

Alexander has said any such legislation should fund cost-sharing reduction payments, as well as include additional flexibilities for states to approve health care plans.

Democrats want to provide funding for the payments for multiple years, while Alexander backs just one year.

CSR payments compensate insurers for lowering the out-of-pocket costs of certain enrollees. Insurers have said premiums would increase if the federal government stops the funds, which total $7 billion for fiscal year 2017.

Insurance carriers have been asking for certainty that they will receive the funding, as the administration continues to fund the payments on a monthly basis.