Citizen Action of Wisconsin
Press Release

Trump’s Health Care Sabotage Threat Would Have Devastating Impact in Wisconsin

Trump threatened to stop paying insurers cost-sharing-reduction payments that reduce deductibles, co-pays, and out-of-pocket maximums for moderate income enrollees.

By - Apr 13th, 2017 01:53 pm
Donald Trump. Photo from whitehouse.gov.

Donald Trump. Photo from whitehouse.gov.

Statewide: Immediately after the implosion of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s health care replacement plan in late March, Citizen Action of Wisconsin warned the Trump Administration may turn to deliberate sabotage. This became a clear and present danger Wednesday when President Donald Trump threatened to use the health coverage of millions of Americans as political leverage against Congressional Democrats.

In an interview in the Wall Street Journal, Trump threatened to stop paying insurers cost-sharing-reduction payments that reduce deductibles, co-pays, and out-of-pocket maximums for moderate income enrollees. The House filed suit two years ago against the Obama Administration claiming that the money had not been appropriated by Congress. The Trump Administration could end the payments by not defending the lawsuit, which has another hearing scheduled for May 22.

Cost-sharing-reduction payments total to $7 billion dollars in 2017, which amounts to $1,136 per beneficiary. But the impact could be much larger than that. Health care experts believe removing the payments would dramatically increase premiums, copays, and deductibles, pricing moderate income people out of the market. It also could spur insurers to flee the market altogether, denying coverage to millions of enrollees.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the removal of cost sharing reduction payments would raise health insurance premiums by 17% in Wisconsin. Below is a chart of how many Wisconsin enrollees receive cost-sharing-reduction payments by county. These moderate income Wisconsinites would see their cost sharing rise dramatically if President Trump follows through on his threat.

Wisconsin County-by-County Impact

Consumers Receiving Cost Sharing Reductions Total Enrollment, 2016
STATEWIDE* 124,376 residents 242,863 residents
Brown County 5,365 10,489
Dane County 8,949 16,581
Douglas County 890 1,620
Eau Claire County 2,248 4,246
Fond du Lac County 1,868 3,663
Kenosha County 3,899 6,486
La Crosse County 2,030 4,154
Manitowoc County 1,942 3,770
Marathon County 3,526 6,525
Milwaukee County 23,134 38,242
Oneida County 1,371 2,699
Outagamie County 3,732 7,223
Racine County 4,100 7,151
Rock County 2,996 5,007
Sheboygan County 2,301 4,564
St. Croix County 1,642 3,399
Waukesha County 6,503 14,347
Winnebago County 3,601 6,401

Source: 2016 Marketplace Health Plan Selections by County, CMS, March 2017
* – Statewide data, 2017 Marketplace Open Enrollment Period Public Use Files, CMS July 2016

“With conservatives in charge of the government they have a solemn moral obligation to uphold the laws of the land and to protect the welfare of the American people,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “It is stunning that conservative politicians are so bent on getting their way that they are willing to play politics with the lives of their own constituents by throwing sand into the gears of the American health care system.”

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