Senate Democratic Leaders To McConnell: Drop Health Care Repeal & Sabotage And Instead Work With Dems To Advance Policies To Strengthen Health Insurance Markets

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Democratic Leaders Dick Durbin (D-IL), Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today released a new letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) urging him to abandon efforts to repeal and sabotage the Affordable Care Act and instead work on a bipartisan basis to advance policies that would help bring much needed stability and certainty to the health insurance markets.  In the new letter, the Senate Democratic Leaders note that Democrats in the Senate have already introduced a number of proposals that would help strengthen and provide stability and certainty to the health insurance markets by making permanent the cost-sharing reduction payments that make health insurance affordable for many Americans, creating a permanent reinsurance program, ensuring that counties currently lacking an insurer still have access to health coverage, and more.

Just two weeks ago, a group of more than a dozen Senate Democrats took to the Senate floor to call on Republicans to work with them to pass commonsense legislation to immediately provide certainty in the health care marketplaces and lower premiums for consumers.  Unfortunately, Senate Republicans blocked multiple unanimous requests from Senate Democrats to pass Senator Shaheen's (D-NH) Marketplace Certainty Act (S.1462) and Senator McCaskill's (D-MO) Health Care Options for All Act (1201).

A copy of the Senate Democrats’ letter can be found here and below:

Dear Leader McConnell:

In preparation for the July work period, we urge you to focus on immediately advancing policies to provide stability and certainty to the health insurance markets.  

We appreciate your recent comments about ensuring stability for the private health insurance markets. 

We believe it is important for the Senate to focus on common sense reforms to make the health care system more affordable and workable for American families, including guaranteeing cost-sharing reduction payments, creating a permanent reinsurance program, addressing areas in the country without insurers, and easing the current cliff on cost-sharing subsidies.  Such reforms would have an immediate effect in stabilizing the market while lowering premiums.  Legislation has already been introduced to address a number of these areas which could be taken up immediately, including:               

  • Senator Shaheen's S.1462, The Marketplace Certainty Act, which would ensure cost-sharing reduction payments‎ are made in order to help stabilize the marketplaces, giving the program permanent certainty for more middle-class families;
  • Senators Carper, Kaine, Nelson and Shaheen's S. 1354, the Individual Health Insurance Marketplace Improvement Act, which would create a permanent reinsurance program to stabilize the market and bring down premiums;
  • Senator McCaskill's S. 1201, the Health Care Options for All Act, which would establish a mechanism to ensure that people that find themselves in a county without an insurer offering coverage will still have an option to access health insurance. 
  • Senator Heitkamp’s proposal to help more families afford health insurance in the individual market by smoothing the “subsidy cliff” for people who earn even nominal sums over 400 federal poverty level.

We stand ready to work on these and other reforms to the current system and urge you to join us in advancing measures that would have an immediate impact on improving the health care system for American families.

Senator Charles E. Schumer

Senator Dick Durbin

Senator Patty Murray

Senator Debbie Stabenow