U.S. Rep. Castor Calls on Speaker Ryan to Protect Affordable Health Care and Cost-Sharing Reductions


Date: April 24, 2017
Location: Washington, DC

As congressional Republicans and President Trump try to avoid a government shutdown this week over the controversial border wall and try to revive a failed health care bill, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) is urging House Speaker Paul Ryan and the Trump Administration to act to protect affordable health care now or else be responsible for higher costs and dire consequences for Florida families.

"Republicans in Congress and President Trump should be focused on helping hardworking families across the country keep their affordable health coverage rather than threatening to shut down the government over controversial border wall funding. Will House Republicans support families who rely on the Affordable Care Act or press ahead for repeal and higher costs? Their reckless attempt to ram TrumpCare through the House without a single hearing last month, where they traded protections for hardworking Americans with pre-existing conditions to appease their right-wing tea party faction, has added to the uncertainty for families, states and insurers about the future. President Trump and House Republicans have threatened to abandon my neighbors again and block the Affordable Care Act by not maintaining cost-sharing reductions (CSRs), sticking hardworking families with much higher health insurance bills.

"CSRs are vital to keeping the marketplace working and keeping others from paying more, especially in Florida. 71 percent of marketplace enrollees in the state -- 1.24 million Floridians -- benefit from CSRs according to a recent report from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). On average, Florida enrollees receive over $1,200 in assistance through CSRs. If Republicans in Congress do not do the right thing for families in Florida and maintain CSRs, not only will the millions who buy from the exchange be abandoned, it is likely that the majority of my neighbors who receive health insurance through their jobs also be hit with higher bills.

"Instead of working together with Democrats to build on the success of the Affordable Care Act, which has dropped the number of uninsured Americans to its lowest in history and ended discrimination against our neighbors with pre-existing conditions, Republicans in Congress are trying to block these vital payments, which help provide my neighbors with affordable quality health care options. Pres. Trump even took the reckless step to abruptly cut outreach and advertising in the crucial final days of the 2017 enrollment season. Despite his best efforts, Florida again led the country by enrolling about 1.7 million people during the 2017 open enrollment.

"By blocking CSR payments, Pres. Trump and Republicans in Congress will throw the marketplace into disarray -- putting our neighbors at risk of losing affordable quality health coverage. Republicans in Congress like to say the HealthCare.gov market is imploding. You and I know that, with over 1.7 million Floridians in the HealthCare.gov market, it is clear that the market is not "imploding." The market will be impaired from without, however, if Republicans continue the assault on the ACA and pull the rug out from under hardworking Floridians.

"Time is of the essence and I urge Speaker Ryan and the Trump Administration to avoid sticking families with higher health insurance costs through their inaction or outright sabotage."