June 29, 2017

Cortez Masto Co-Sponsors Bill to Prevent Healthcare Providers from Leaving Rural Markets

Washington, D.C. – Following the news that uncertainty surrounding the Republicans’ attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act has caused insurance carriers to stop offering plans in nearly all of Nevada’s rural counties, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) to introduce legislation that would stabilize the healthcare market. Their bill, the Marketplace Certainty Act, would prevent costs from spiraling out of control so that providers are not forced to leave markets.

“By introducing plan after plan to gut the Affordable Care Act and refusing to enforce its key provisions, Republicans are creating chaos in our nation’s healthcare system,” said Cortez Masto. “The decision by health insurers to pull out of Nevada’s rural counties, leaving nearly 8,000 Nevadans without coverage, is a direct result of the crisis of Republican leadership in Washington. The bill I sponsored yesterday would end the chaos and allow healthcare providers to continue offering affordable coverage in rural communities. It’s unfortunate that my Republican colleagues refused to consider this measure that would protect the livelihoods of thousands of Nevadans.”

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) yesterday asked the Senate to unanimously approve the Marketplace Certainty Act to provide the certainty the healthcare marketplaces need and lower premiums for consumers. Republicans objected.

Since taking office in January, the Trump Administration has refused to commit to funding the Cost Sharing Reductions (CSRs) provided by the Affordable Care Act to help consumers afford insurance. CSRs make health insurance more affordable by lowering the amount consumers have to pay for deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. 

The director of the Silver State Health Exchange Board, Heather Korbulic, told the Reno Gazette-Journal that this policy, combined with Republican legislators’ attempts to repeal the ACA entirely, caused insurers to leave the exchange.

“Federal instability over cost-sharing and the elimination of the individual mandate has created a very unstable market,” Korbulic told the RGJ. “Today we are seeing the result of this instability.”

“Enforcement of the individual mandate is critical to the ongoing enrollment on the exchange,” Korbulic continued. “If the federal government does not enforce the federal mandate, consumers who are healthy are more unlikely to purchase health insurance... and that drives up the costs for everybody.”

The Marketplace Certainty Act would reverse the Trump administration’s policy by permanently appropriating Cost Sharing Reductions and making them available to more Americans.

Joining Cortez Masto and Shaheen on the Marketplace Certainty Act are U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Angus King (I-Vt.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and Mark Warner (D-Va.).