Schumer Remarks on President Trump Ending CSR Payments

October 13, 2017

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today in a press call delivered the following remarks on the Trump administration’s decision to stop funding cost sharing payments:

The president’s decision last night to end the cost sharing payments is going to be devastating for millions of Americans, poor Americans and those in the middle class, and is one of the worst things the president could do to sabotage our health care system.

Cost sharing payments have kept premiums and out-of-pocket costs down for 7 million Americans this year alone.

For those covered under the Affordable Care Act, these cost sharing payments lowered combined medical and prescription drug deductibles by as much as $3,354 and reduced annual out-of-pocket maximums by up to $5,587.

But these payments aren’t just limited to lower-income Americans.

Ending these payments will sabotage the broader individual market, jeopardizing coverage for millions of Americans in the middle class, as well as those struggling to get there.

According to the CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, cutting off these payments will cause premiums to shoot up by a whopping 20 to 25 percent. So the president, by this action, is raising premiums by 20 to 25 percent.

The number of counties in the country without an insurer offering coverage on the exchanges would potentially increase in 2018, but dramatically increase in 2019 and beyond. That means that millions of Americans would be living in parts of the country where there aren’t any insurers in the non-group, individual market.

Would ending the subsidies save taxpayer dollars? No, in fact it would cause the deficit to increase by $194 billion over the next ten years. Let our deficit hawks on the Republican side hear that. This is because as premiums increase due to no more CSR payments, so do tax credits for those eligible to shield people from premium increases. 

Ending the payments needlessly will drastically hurt middle-income Americans who do not qualify for tax credits and subsidies currently, but will see their premiums increase because of the effect on all ACA plans. So that’s incredible: middle-class people get no subsidies; they’re going to have their premiums go up, too.

These are just a few of the reasons that many of our Republican colleagues know that the president’s cynical strategy is a terrible idea.

Senator Collins called these payments “vital assistance” and said that the payments need to continue.

Senator Alexander has voiced support for continuing the payments, as has Senator Thune.

Even Senator Cassidy, who led the charge in the latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, has said that Republicans don’t want to make the system worse, and these payments should continue.

So on the merits, our Republican colleagues understand that they have an obligation to solve this problem and ensure these payments continue.

But there’s another reason as well that our Republicans colleagues would like to extend these payments.

Republicans have been doing everything they can for the last ten months to inject instability into our health care system and to force collapse through sabotage, and Republicans in the House and Senate now own the health care system in this country from top to bottom, and their destructive actions, and the actions of the president, are going to fall on their backs.

The American people see it, and they know full well which party is doing it.

According to a recent Kaiser poll, 6 in 10 Americans said that the president and Congressional Republicans are responsible for any problems with the health care system going forward, and that was before the president blatantly, brazenly, and braggingly took a wrecking ball to the system.

That same poll found that nearly 7 in 10 Americans believe that the president should work to improve the marketplaces, not end them.

For the past several months, the president has made a threat that no reasonable Republican believed he would act on, or thought he should act on.

Last night, the president acted. And the American people are the ones who will be hurt.

Unless our Republican colleagues act, the American people will know exactly where to place the blame when their premiums shoot up, and when millions lose coverage.