Statement re: Senate HELP Committee Hearing on Stabilizing the Individual Health Insurance Market

February 1, 2017

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Statement by The ERISA Industry Committee re: Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee’s February 1, 2017 Hearing on Stabilizing the Individual Health Insurance Market

Chairman Alexander, Ranking Member Murray and members of the Committee, thank you for this opportunity to submit a statement for the record on behalf of The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC), regarding the hearing on stabilizing the individual health insurance market.

The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC), the only national association that advocates exclusively for large employers on health, retirement, and compensation public policies at the federal, state, and local levels, calls on the Committee and Congress to take immediate action to prevent the taxation of millions of Americans' health benefits to stabilize the individual market as you begin the process of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and instead look to market-driven reforms.

The ACA sought to strengthen the exchange markets by redistributing money from hardworking Americans and employers to exchange-participating insurers, under the auspices of the Transitional Reinsurance Program (TRP). Congress should allow this program to fully and unequivocally expire, and instead focus on reforms that give insurers the right incentives to participate and compete, implementing risk adjustment within exchanges as appropriate.

Right now, Congress has the opportunity to restructure the exchange markets in such a way that consumers will be able to afford health insurance plans, and insurers will be able to offer those plans without losing billions of dollars or relying on the federal government to prop them up and offset their losses. Congress has a duty to work toward solutions for the millions of Americans threatened by a collapse of the individual market, but those solutions must not jeopardize or shift costs to working families.

Employers are the largest source of health coverage in the country, providing health insurance benefits to more than 178 million Americans. Employers add enormous value to the health care system –working on behalf of their employees to improve health care quality, reining in health care costs, and developing and engaging in innovative delivery system reforms. 

The ERISA Industry Committee stands with Congress to improve the quality of health care, lower costs, and ensure the protection of the million employees and their employers that provide them health coverage.

If ERIC can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact James Gelfand, Senior Vice President for Health Policy, at jgelfand@eric.org or (202) 789‐1400.