Dear Chairman Walden:
We are writing to urge you to immediately hold hearings to consider measures to stabilize the insurance markets. With only a month to go before the open enrollment season, our window of opportunity to stabilize markets and bring down premiums for millions of Americans is quickly closing.
It is imperative that we work expeditiously to pass market stabilization measures and end the widespread uncertainty among insurers regarding the future of the Marketplaces due to the Trump Administration's continual threats to unilaterally end the payment of CSRs. Failure to provide this certainty is resulting in significantly higher costs and fewer choices for consumers. These premium increases also have significant federal spending implications -- according to one estimate, as a result of rising premiums, the federal government would end up spending $31 billion more from 2018-2027.
We believe a hearing on market stabilization would also provide an opportunity to consider other important policy levers to stabilize and improve health insurance markets, including ideas to encourage greater choice and competition in the individual market and to encourage enrollment by younger people in the Marketplaces to improve the risk pool. We stand ready to work with you on bipartisan ideas to achieve these shared goals.
In September, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and Senate Finance Committee began the work of holding bipartisan hearings on solutions to the challenges facing our healthcare system today, and including specifically the individual insurance market. As a result, members of those Committees were afforded the critical opportunity to receive testimony from a variety of stakeholders, pose questions and evaluate policy in a public forum. Members of the Energy and Commerce Committee should have the same opportunity.
Our Committee holds broad jurisdiction over the health care sector and as such has a leading role to play in ensuring that bipartisan agreement is reached on healthcare legislation that meets the needs of the American people. We stand ready to work through regular order to develop policy and build consensus.
Thank you for your consideration of this request.