Representatives Langevin, Chu, and Ruiz Introduce Bill to Improve Health Care Marketplace Stability

Jul 20, 2017 Issues: Health Care

Yesterday, Representative Jim Langevin (D-RI), co-chair of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus, Representative Judy Chu (D-CA), a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, and Representative Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA), a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, introduced the Individual Health Insurance Marketplace Improvement Act to help stabilize and strengthen the individual health insurance market by minimizing the impact of higher than average health care costs. The bill would establish a permanent market stabilization program, modeled after Medicare Part D’s successful program, which has generated competition, reduced premiums, and reinforced access to quality coverage. It is the House companion to S.1354 introduced by Senators Tom Carper (D-DE) and Tim Kaine (D-VA).

“I’ve long said the Affordable Care Act is not perfect, but making health care more accessible for all Americans means offering productive solutions to improve the ACA instead of tearing it down,” said Langevin. “The Individual Health Insurance Marketplace Improvement Act will increase competition among insurers, lower premiums and provide state funding to elevate outreach and enrollment in the health insurance marketplaces.”

“Instead of trying to rip health insurance away from millions of Americans through failed ‘repeal and replace’ efforts, it’s time to return to the work we started 9 years ago with the Affordable Care Act: getting every American access to affordable, quality healthcare,” said Chu. “Blaming Democratic obstruction is just another tactic Trump is using to excuse his own failings. The reality is that Democrats are ready and eager to work on ways to improve the insurance markets. And that is what this bill does by increasing market stability, competition, and enrollment. I hope Republicans drop their unrealistic and hyper-partisan repeal efforts and join us to debate this and other proposals that will actually improve healthcare in America.”

“We must immediately come together and pass the Individual Health Insurance Marketplace Improvement Act in order to prevent skyrocketing premiums, keep insurers in the exchanges, and help American families afford care,” said Dr. Ruiz.

The market stabilization program would provide federal funding to cover a portion of larger than expected insurance claims for health insurance companies participating in the state and federal individual insurance marketplaces. It would cover 80 percent of insurance claims between $50,000 and $500,000 from 2018 to 2020. Starting in 2021, federal funding would cover 80 percent of insurance claims between $100,000 and $500,000.

Between 2018 and 2020, the bill would also provide $500 million a year to help states enhance outreach and public education efforts by highlighting the importance of enrolling in insurance coverage and raising awareness of premium assistance programs. Outreach and enrollment funding is prioritized for areas of the country at the greatest risk of having few insurers in the individual marketplace.