June 12, 2017

Warren, Murray Ask HHS Inspector General to Investigate Trump Administration's Actions to Undermine the Health Care System

Administration Causing Instability, Chaos in Insurance Markets that Could Lead to Higher Costs and Fewer Choices for Working Americans

Text of the letter available here (PDF)

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.), wrote a letter to the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to request an investigation into how the Trump Administration's actions have undermined the health care system, risking reduced access to health insurance and higher premiums for millions of Americans.

President Trump and members of his administration have repeatedly acted to undermine insurance markets, threatening to end payments to insurers to subsidize the health care costs of low-income Americans, and reportedly using them as a bargaining chip to gain industry support for Trumpcare.  Last month, House Republicans passed legislation - now under consideration in the Senate - that would dramatically raise premiums for people with pre-existing conditions and take coverage away from 23 million Americans.

"The full effects of these ongoing efforts to undermine working families access to health insurance are yet to be seen, but it is clear that the Trump Administration has - either deliberately or through stunning incompetence - undermined the Affordable Care Act in some parts of the country, potentially resulting in significant increased insurance costs for individuals and the government, and reducing insurance choices for millions of Americans," wrote the senators.

According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, "substantial uncertainty about enforcement of the individual mandate and about future payments of the cost-sharing subsidies," could lead to insurers withdrawing in some markets, undermining the stability of the nongroup market and causing "people who would have been insured in the nongroup market under current law to be uninsured."

The senators requested that the HHS Inspector General determine the timeline, impact of, and rationale for the Trump Administration's actions on nongroupl and small group insurance markets, as well as on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the impact on insurance premiums, out-of-pocket costs, the number of enrollees, and the federal budget.