After signing an executive order last Thursday instructing various federal agencies to revisit ACA rules restricting sales of non-ACA-compliant plans, Trump also announced he plans to discontinue cost-sharing reduction payments (CSRs) to insurers offering federal exchange plans. The CSRs help protect insurers from unexpectedly high costs and let them offer lower-cost individual market plans. While Trump's Executive Order has no immediate impact and is merely instructional, the ending of CSR payments could have an immediate effect on the individual markets.
The Congressional Budget Office has released an analysis concluding termination of CSR payments would increase premiums for the most popular individual market plans by 20% next year and 25% by 2020 and leave about 5% of the population without access to any individual plans at all. By contrast, if the CSRs were left in place, less than 0.5% of the population would live in a region without access to individual market plans. Insurers will be able to withdraw from the marketplace in 2018 if CSRs are not renewed, which could leave thousands of people unable to purchase any plans through the health insurance marketplace as soon as next year.
By cutting subsidy payments, Trump is effectively kicking the issue to Congress. It will be up to Congress to appropriate funds for the CSR payments to prevent turmoil in the individual insurance market and real harm to individuals.
WHO TO CALL:
Senator Cassidy and Senator Kennedy
Senator Bill Cassidy - DC OFFICE: (202) 224-5824 and METAIRIE OFFICE: (504) 838-0130 (NOTE: If you can't get through to Metairie, try one of the other offices, such as Monroe: (318) 324-2111, Lake Charles: (337) 493-5398, or Alexandria: (318) 448-7176)
Senator John Kennedy - DC OFFICE: (202) 224-4623 and MONROE OFFICE (318) 361-1489
Reminders: Identify where you're calling from (town and zip code is fine) so they know you're an actual constituent. Be concise - the office will get through more calls that way. Be polite and don't argue with the staffer - they don't set policy. If you get a voicemail, then leave a message. And if you get a busy signal -- call back later!
Hi, my name is [Your Name] from New Orleans, zip code 70118 [or wherever you're from].
I'm calling to urge the senator to immediately pass legislation to stabilize the insurance market and ensure the ACA's cost-sharing subsidies are fully funded. The American people want a bipartisan fix to the ACA, not a political sabotage of the law.
Thank you for your time, and your hard work answering the phones.
[IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied]
This call is adapted from: http://5calls.org/